Feb 3 2014, 7:46am CST | by Forbes
“America’s Import” was the new signature line at the end of the Chrysler-brand anthem ad during the game’s third quarter, starring Bob Dylan from start to finish as narrator, protagonist and inspiration in a commercial that at least nominally was about the new 2015 Chrysler 200 sedan.
As predicted here on Friday, Chrysler indeed moved away from the Motown-centric positioning that it introduced with its epochal Super Bowl ad in 2011, the one that starred Eminem and the previous version of the 200. That ad also very much starred Detroit and its gritty comeback attempt.
But in the ad on Sunday — which, again this year, Chrysler did a very good job of not telegraphing ahead of time — the brand clearly tried to establish a broader message than the fact that it is associated with Detroit.
Instead, Chrysler preached a new sermon about cars that are made in America, while mentioning Detroit only tangentially. It was consistent with what Chrysler CMO Olivier Francois told me a while ago about wanting to emphasize the “Imported” aspect of the “Imported From Detroit” slogan, about determining to play up the company’s world-class automotive chops more than its association with its hometown.
Is there anything more American than America? Dylan says in the ad. ‘Cause you can’t import a vision. You can’t fake true cool. You can’t duplicate legacy. Because what Detroit created was a first and became an inspiration to the rest of the world.
Yeah, Detroit made cars, and cars made America. Making the best, making the finest, takes conviction … And you can’t import the heart and soul of every man and woman working on the line.
You can search the world over for the finer things but you won’t find a match for the American road and the creatures that live on it.
Because we believe in the zoom, and the roar and the thrust. And when it’s made here it’s made with the one thing you can’t import from anywhere else. American pride.
So let Germany brew your beer. Have Switzerland make your watch. Let Asiaa assemble your phone. We will build your car.”
The ad ends with the words, “All-New Chrysler 200,” and then the apparent new tagline, “America’s Import.”
The imagery in the ad also supports the brand’s clear departure from the “Imported From Detroit” motif of the last three years. Interspersed with scenes of Dylan himself — strumming his guitar, playing pool, integrating himself completely with the theme and the action of the ad — are plenty of snapshots of Americana.
There is a diner, a ferris wheel, a baseball pitcher, a sign along Route 66, Julius Erving, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, a Rosie the Riveter poster. And while there are some glimpses of an automotive assembly line, and Detroit, they’re far from tone-setting — instead, they depict the Motor City only as part of the entire fabric of America, of a nation, not just a city, that is putting out a worthy automobile.
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