Chrysler Goes All-In On "Imported From Detroit"

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
chrysler goes all in on imported from detroit

Chrysler got so much buzz out of its “Imported From Detroit” Super Bowl ad that it sold out of apparel bearing the tagline “within hours” and even had GM Marketing boss Joel Ewanick admitting

Yeah, we’re getting our butts kicked.

Now Chrysler is literally wrapping itself in the tagline, covering its Auburn Hills headquarters with the semi-ironic (what with ChryCo headquarters being located in Auburn Hills and all) phrase. And Chrysler’s ad agency is even exploring ways to remake Chrysler’s dealerships into “Detroit Embassies.” AdAge quotes the Creative Director for Chrysler’s ad agency Wieden + Kennedy as saying

One of things we’ve been working on for last couple of days is a dealer kit. How can we make dealers around America feel like Detroit embassies? How can we put this feeling about Detroit and its optimistic resurgence in dealerships? We’ll help them keep that stuff rolling.

But will it make a difference?

Wharton management professor John Paul MacDuffie notes that the ad works well with Chrysler’s image of an icon reborn but

Despite the ad’s emphasis on luxury, the 200 is really competing against the core mid-size sedans offered by both domestic and foreign automakers, which means such powerhouse products in terms of reliability … and reputation as the Toyota Camry, Honda Civic, Nissan Altima and Hyundai Sonata. As one reviewer put it, the 200 appears to be a more value-priced alternative to these products than a strong head-to-head competitor.

Luckily for Chrysler, the ad has already increased consideration of the 200 (at least as measured by web searches) and, as MacDuffie puts it

What they’ll find is that most reviews of the car “draw an explicit contrast to the Sebring, the model on the same platform that preceded it. The Sebring had all sorts of problems, so it is easy for the 200 to make a positive impression by comparison.”

So the ad may open a few minds to Chrysler, but it still remains very much to be seen if sales improve much as a result. If not, Chrysler’s all-in bet on the tagline could transform it into a punchline.

Join the conversation
3 of 56 comments
  • Jacob_coulter Jacob_coulter on Feb 18, 2011

    Dumb marketing, imo. 99% of Americans have a bad impression of Detroit. Face it, Detroit's a failed city, and Chrysler is a failed brand that has now been bailed out twice. And it's not even an American company anymore, it's Italian. Flashy marketing doesn't sell cars, it's not beer or sneakers. Product quality sells car, and Chrysler has crap product. They'll be at the trough once again begging for a government handout, maybe Eminem can loan them some money.

  • Keith Tomas Keith Tomas on Feb 19, 2011

    I don't know why they insisted on making the Sebring/Avenger and Caliber in the first place.

  • ToolGuy Did the stylist also design that waste receptacle? Some of the contours look similar.
  • Corey Lewis Looks lousy, in the worst generic way.
  • ToolGuy Plot twist: Tesla will change the connector design.
  • MaintenanceCosts TX 550h+ will go on the test-drive list for our next car. I'm sure it won't be as nice to drive as an X5 PHEV, but it will also likely be $15k cheaper for comparable equipment and have more cargo space.
  • 2ACL If I'm going to battle 30-year-old BMW problems, then the car had better be representative of their greatest hits. I hear the M42 is a decent motor, but it just doesn't personify BMW excellence of the period. Also did some digging in the seller's other posts to try and determine the transmission type. . ."Test drive was magnificent, for an automatic, it eventually gets up to speed." Free-revving four + four-speed slushbox = definite pass.