So what about Chrysler’s halftime ad? You know, the one with a Clint Eastwood who looked like he would die on the set? It did not show up in any of the Edmunds.com rankings. It is neither on the “that ad’s the bomb!” list. Nor is it on the list of ads that bombed. Maybe because Edmunds could not find the car. Car? What car? The ad tried really hard to repeat the “Imported from Detroit” success. Instead, the ad created a lot of controversy. Controversy? The [forbidden word] hit the fan! It might cost Obama the election!
A lot of people mistook it for a political ad. Chrysler Group Chairman and CEO Sergio Marchionne had to quickly refute the rumor on a Detroit talk radio program:
“It had zero political content. I think we need to be careful, and God knows I can’t stop anybody from associating themselves with the message. But it was not intended to be any type of political overture on our part.”
After Karl Rove, former top political aide to President George W. Bush, said that this is tantamount to “using tax dollars to buy corporate advertising,” the White House had to deny that the ad was a “I give you Chrysler, you help me getting re-elected” deal. After claiming that all the ad wants to do is “sell cars” (what cars?), White House press secretary Jay Carney went on to say:
“It does point out a simple fact, which is that the automobile industry in this country was on its back, and potentially poised to liquidate three years ago, and this president made decisions that were not very popular at the time that were guided by two important principles: One, that he should do what he could to ensure that 1 million jobs would not be lost; and two, that the American automobile industry should be able to thrive globally if the right conditions were created, and that included the kinds of reforms and restructuring that Chrysler and GM undertook in exchange for the assistance from the American taxpayer.”
So there. Marchionnegate off the table.
Leave it to what Wikipedia calls “an American neoconservative opinion magazine” to light one hell of a fire under the ad. The Weekly Standard found out that Detroit’s comeback ad was – are you ready for this –not filmed in Detroit. Really. The Weekly Standard cites Chrysler spokeswoman Dianna Gutierrez who admitted:
“Yes, part of it was filmed in New Orleans . . . and some was filmed in various parts—such as Los Angeles.”
Shockingly, Gutierrez is quoted as saying that the tunnel scenes were taken at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the stadium shots were in New Orleans. According to the Weekly Standard, stock footage of Detroit was used:
“Asked whether any part of the ad was filmed in Detroit, Gutierrez said that previously taken footage from various parts of the Motor City was used. No image of Detroit was shot for the specific use in this ad.”
Now THAT is a juicy scandal. Who needs allegedly illegal; campaign contributions if we have THAT? Fake Detroit! Two hours after the Weekly Standard, Fox News was on the story, and there’s no stopping it. This thing is more viral than Ebola.
At the time of this typing, the ad had
2,730,612 3,933,192 views on YouTube. THAT’s what we need in these trying times: Free advertising.