“Imported from Detroit” advertising campaign helped Chrysler sell cars again

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 18, 2012

We all know how successful Chrysler’s "Imported from Detroit" advertising campaign has been but it’s likely that you don’t realize that it all started with CEO Sergio Marchionne seeing on TV just how the audience reacted to Detroit's Kid Rock perform his hit "Born Free" live during the American Music Awards in November 2010. The campaign for this struggling automaker was the brainchild of three car guys from Lebanon, France and Italy to use an Oregon advertising agency.

They got a couple of white rappers as part of hopes to reinvent its image. Marchionne talked with Chrysler brand CEO Saad Chehab to see for themselves just how the audience responds to it.

He said that they came up with the “Imported from Detroit" advertising campaign that was launched with a two-minute commercial called "Born of Fire," which is presented by Eminem during Super Bowl XLV in February. 

This spot, the longest ad to air during any Super Bowl, draws in t he largest TV audience in U.S. history. The house has to see the edgy attitude of post-industrial Detroit as a point of pride for their viewers to consider the automaker's cars again.

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