Updated Monday evening
Only seconds after Chrysler’s two-minute ad ran during Sunday’s Super Bowl, the social media world was ablaze. A day later, the commercial, which featured the Chrysler 200, and rapper Eminem, had been viewed more than 1.6 million times on YouTube, with “likes” outpacing “dislikes” by 13,000 to 435.
But is it an ad for a car — or an ad about Detroit? And who benefited more, the car company or the city?
Maybe it doesn’t matter.
The ad, in itself, is notable for a number of reasons. It’s the first two-minute ad to run during a Super Bowl telecast. The ad features Detroit native Eminem (who would have been more of a coup if he hadn’t taken part in a Brisk iced-tea ad earlier in the football game).
Beyond its length and its star, the ad makes the city look breathtaking. It has all the gloss and dark sophistication of a major motion picture. And it clearly counteracted the “ruin porn” for which Detroit is better known — those images of deteriorating, once-elegant buildings that are everywhere across the city.
The New York Times reported that the ad cost under $9 million to make, more than the budget for some of the independent films being shot in Detroit these days.
Jalopnik.com, the auto enthusiast site that’s a good friend to Changing Gears, jumped for joy within minutes of the ad reaching the airwaves.
“Chrysler’s Eminem ‘Imported From Detroit’ Super Bowl Ad is Amazing,” declared Ray Wert, Jalopnik’s Editor in Chief. “The commercial seriously gave me chills,” Wert wrote.
However, the ad may not have resonated outside the city the way it did with Detroiters.
Stuart Elliott, the Times’ veteran advertising writer who began his career at the Free Press, did not include it on a list of his top picks among Super Bowl ads. Elliott’s list included only ads provided in advance, and Chrysler kept the wraps on its ad until it aired in the second half.
At USA Today, which runs an annual AdMeter in which viewers rate their favorite ads, the Chrysler ad ranked 44th among Super Bowl ads. The winners: a tie between Budweiser and Doritos.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly said Chrysler was the only Detroit auto company to advertise on the Super Bowl. There also were ads from Chevrolet, a division of General Motors.