Marchionne Buries 'Detroit' Theme, But It's Hard To Let Go

Feb 5 2014, 3:44pm CST | by

Marchionne Buries 'Detroit' Theme, But It's Hard To Let Go

It’s a funny thing, Detroit pride. It may be unique in all the world because Detroit is a uniquely challenged American city. And this pride has been on full display during the last few days as important Detroit-based media simply have refused to acknowledge that it’s officially R.I.P. for Chrysler’s “Imported From Detroit” theme.

With the new tag line, “America’s Import,” Chrysler’s Super Bowl ad on Sunday made it clear that the brand finally was tacking decisively away from the “Imported From Detroit” positioning that had worked so well for three years — a move predicted by this contributor before the game.

And then on the morning immediately after the game, Monday, Chrysler and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne made that reality abundantly clear by spelling out the change in thinking at the top of the company.

“I think it was important for us to close this chapter that we started in 2011 with Eminem and the ‘Imported From Detroit’ story, and I think yesterday was about – we closed that chapter,” Marchionne told Detroit talk-radio host Paul W. Smith on WJR-AM.

“The Eminem message back in 2011 was reflective of a process of reconstruction that had just started. I think yesterday was a celebration of the fact that that reconstruction is complete, and I think it’s a recognition of the work that has been done by the men and women in all the car companies that work out of Detroit, it’s not just us.”

Marchionne added: “I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish but we’ve got to turn the page now … I think the theme of the Eminem and then the rest of the commercials that we’ve played since ’11, have to come to a natural conclusion.

“I think we’ve asserted in unmistakable terms that the American auto industry is back, and I think we’ve taken sort of the authority away from the rest to make that statement. But I think it’s fair to say that we have that cycle completed and behind us; that we can now move in a different world, in a different set of opportunities, that this renewed strength that Detroit has found.”

And yet on that same morning, the Detroit Free Press insisted that the ad “showcased Chrysler’s Detroit roots,” while the Detroit News said Dylan’s spot was rich with gritty footage of the Detroit metro area.”

No, it didn’t; and, no, it wasn’t: The few images identifiably of Detroit and auto plants were only a small part of a much larger pastiche of America, and Detroit wasn’t even identified as such. Neither did either hometown newspaper mention the very point of the ad and the one that Marchionne explicated on WJR.

“Imported From Detroit” is dead. Long live “America’s Import.”

Source: Forbes Auto

 
 

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