OT: "Imported From Detroit" Commercials

Submitted by Buzz Your Girlfriend on February 6th, 2012 at 2:35 PM

Last night revealed the second annual "Imported From Detroit" commercial featuring Clint Eastwood.

Did you like it more than last year's commercial?

Last night's spot is getting a lot of buzz, and it was even called "Perfect" by several Detroit media outlets. To be honest, I thought it relied too heavily upon Clint, who I just see as another good actor, and it failed to live up to last year's commercial.

Thoughts? Positive for Detroit/America? Should Chrysler do another one next year?



February 6th, 2012 at 2:40 PM ^

It was pretty good, but I thought it was too heavy on the sap, and last year's commercial was better because it was almost completely unexpected, and had better imagery.  It was like they knew they had to outdo last year's and tried exceedingly hard to do so.

Wolverine 73

February 6th, 2012 at 2:44 PM ^

I find all those "imported from Detroit" commercials incredibly lame.  Yesterday's was no different.  Make better cars and design them to look more attractive if you want to sell them to people who abandoned the Big Three after one too many rust buckets in the old days.  They don't need to be "imported" if they are good and attractive.  While Big Three quality has plainly improved, there isn't a single Big Three car to appeal to a potential BMW/Lexus/Audi buyer.


February 6th, 2012 at 2:52 PM ^

there isn't a single Big Three car to appeal to a potential BMW/Lexus/Audi buyer.

See, this attitude is why these commercials exist. Because anyone who thinks that the Big 3 don't make cars that can compete with Audi and Lexus hasn't been paying attention lately. And people don't know you sell good cars if they don't look at your cars. Detroit can make the best car the world has ever seen and if people think like you, they'll never know it and never buy it. Hence the need for a commercial like that one that is a lot more powerful than your average car ad.


February 6th, 2012 at 3:47 PM ^

What are you looking for? BMW buyer? Well, that 3 series sure is sharp... did you catch the new Cadillac ad with the ATS which is a shot right at the 3 series? The ATS is made in Lansing, MI.

How about a bigger BMW, like the 5 series. You want RWD and power. Boom, Chrysler 300 or CTS.

A FWD Lexus is your thing? Look at the Lincoln MKZ or MKS. New Cadillac XTS.

I won't say that any of these cars is better than any other, but the Big 3 are back in the conversation in a way they haven't been for a while.


February 6th, 2012 at 4:14 PM ^

and was smart of GM to bring it over (That car has been on sale in Europe as an Opel for a while). I haven't driven the Buick, and I won't say it's as nice as any Audi (lack of experience) but as someone who drives a car with 4 doors and 3 pedals, I love that I can now buy an american car. When I bought my car in 2010 I had no domestic options (G8s were all gone, Regal didn't exist yet, and while I couldnt afford a CTS-V anyway, had I bought one I'd probably be dead or in jail. Maybe just the hospital). When it's time for me to shop again, I'll have a few made here to look at.


February 6th, 2012 at 5:40 PM ^

OK, I'm a BMW guy (although my next purchase will be a Ford/Chevy SUV. No need for an explanation). The 3-series is untouchable. It dominates its class.

However, Cadillac has done a heck of a job rebranding itself and reestablishing itself as a premier brand. The "We don't build cars; we buld Cadillacs" tagline makes me think of when people call nice things the "Cadillac" of that product. So I like it a lot. 

I also like how Cadillac singled out the 3-series (which, like I said, is an untouchable car) because it shows that they acknowledge what many consider to be the best car out there and are directly competing with it. I don't like when car commercials call out Audis and Lexuses because those car companies don't dominate anything (except maybe crash test research in the case of Lexus). 

With all that said, I think it's important that the Big Three follow up with these commercials and continue to improve upon their products. I also think it would be helpful to directly attack common perceptions that many people who left the Big Three have. For example, that you can pay twice as much for a part with the Lincoln logo on it than you would for the same part with the Ford logo on it; poor reliability; and lack of ingenuity.  


February 6th, 2012 at 2:57 PM ^

Well, you are trying to compare luxury brands to mass-consumer vehicles, which doesn't make much sense.  Toyota and Honda don't appeal to those owners either.  And yes, I know Toyota owns Lexus.  

Making an argument that a $18k car doesn't appeal to people looking to spend around $35k for an up-market vehicle is patently true, but also pretty irrelevant.  They are different vechicles and different markets - Audi's sales are dwarfed by the Big 3, as are BMW's at least domestically.

With Chrysler, a fully decked-out 300 appeals to a certain type of individual who might have considered a moderately-priced Lexus.  Same with a Cadillac, which is just as sporty and powerful as the makers you listed above, and based on sales seem to appeal to those buyers.  

Louie C

February 6th, 2012 at 5:48 PM ^

I work at the LDT plant in Lansing wich produces the luxury crossover vehicles Buick Enclave, and Acadia Denali. The primary reason why we worked 6 day weeks last year was because those vehicles are strong sellers. Plus LDT's cross town sister plant produces the Cadillac CTS, ATS, and STS. Don't know about your kneck of the woods, but I see lots of these vehilcles on the road, and it gives me a great sense of pride knowing that somebody is driving something that I literally work my fingers to the bone to help produce.


February 6th, 2012 at 9:06 PM ^

Now let's be fair. BMW used to make attractive cars, and then they hired Chris Bangle.

More to the point, for the most part the Big Three aren't competing with those brands. They are competing with Honda, Toyota, the Koreans and, to a lesser extent, Volkswagon. There's no real difference in quality any more. The Japanese aren't making anything attractive or particularly engaging to drive. In fact, for the person who actually wants a driving car at a reasonable price rather than a rolling living room, the Focus is a far better car than the Corolla.

Full disclosure: Proud, native Detroiter who drives an '87 Toyota Pickup and will be purchasing a similar vintage BMW 3-series in the next month or two.


February 6th, 2012 at 2:45 PM ^

I like last years more because they got somebody that is actually from Detroit, and know what the struggles of the city are from a personal perspective. Clints was very good don't get me wrong, but Eminem is from here and made it more personal. Just my opinion.


February 6th, 2012 at 2:47 PM ^

I think as an ad for cars and Detroit, Eminem's was better because it seemed more pointed.  But I saw this a couple of places that the Clint one was the best political."USA!" ad you'll see all year, despite it obstensibly not really being about politics.  And please note, this post is in no way trying to make a political statement.

Eastwood was great and his voice really took it to another level, but they could have been talking about virtually any product from Detroit/the heartland and this would have been appropriate.  Last year's was all about Detroit/Chrysler cars, in particular the 200, and how it was cool to own one.


February 6th, 2012 at 4:13 PM ^

Here's the thing: How many people around the country tie the city's image to the image of the cars it produces?  Probably quite a few.  Lots of people in snobby towns like Boston and NYC and LA, or southern boomtowns like Atlanta or Dallas, think the Midwest is a rusted-out hulk, a place you fly over to get to places you want to go, and of course, Detroit is the rotten core from which all the decay emanates.  So the thinking goes - why buy something built in that shithole?

That's why the Eminem ad was so brillliant.  You show them that rusty industry they expect, show them Detroit freeway signs in case they didn't get the picture, and then hit them with beautiful pictures of downtown, a well-dressed guy who just happens to be Barry Sanders, a figure skater on the downtown rink, and culminate it with the Fox Theatre and uplifting, Detroit-style music - and it's a very powerful, image-changing message.  Change people's image of the city and you change their image of the city's products.

Section 1

February 6th, 2012 at 2:51 PM ^

Chrysler should build and sell cars, not urban cheerleading.  But of course, it all makes sense if in fact the entire campaign really is all about branding a product and not about urban renewal. 

If the Wieden + Kennedy Ad agency in Portland is not trying to sell Chrysler cars with a sophisticated(?) branding message, then I question what they are doing at all.  Their job is to sell cars.  And if it is all about selling cars, then why are people getting all sentimental as though it were some sort of documentary work? 


February 6th, 2012 at 2:58 PM ^

When Daimler took over Chrysler, they actually took a hit in the muscle car and truck markets because the company stopped being "American" (those two markets are fairly nationalistic).  Also they ran those "Dr. Z" commercials which reminded people the Germans were running the show.

These "made in Detroit" ads are just Fiat's way of avoiding any similiar hit.  They're just working to keep the brand America and avoid losing more marketshare for the Dodge Ram, etc.

I agree the product is key, but you also have to keep Ford and GM from being able to attack the fact you are now an Italian owned company.  So effort is made to appear American.  


February 6th, 2012 at 3:47 PM ^

You have to admit that Fiat and Marchionne have done a marvelous job not making all the mistakes that Daimler-Benz made with Chrysler.  Whereas Daimler proclaimed a "merger of equals" and never walked that walk, Fiat - even though they "own" Chrysler - has acted as though it really is a merger.  They've done such a good job of it that I - me, the guy who will never buy a European or Asian car for jingoistic reasons - have actually caught myself considering buying a Fiat once they bring something to the States other than a Hot Wheels car.

Section 1

February 6th, 2012 at 3:52 PM ^

Very nicely put.  I think you are right.

And my reply is, "If this is simply good brand managment and clever craftsmanship toward that end, then I don't care too much about how Clint Eastwood from Carmel, California or an ad agency from Portland, Oregon go about the task of creating branding infotainment, apart from a purely academic interest."


February 6th, 2012 at 2:56 PM ^

It was more subtle, more credible, and more authentic than any jingoistic "buy American" fare the ad agenies typically serve up.  

The only thing we thought funny . . .  Chrysler is owned by Fiat and Clint got his start in Italian "spaghetti Westerns".   What could be more American/Italian than Westerns and Chryslers?


February 6th, 2012 at 3:03 PM ^

I must be in the minority based on comments here and other outlets, but I HATE the "Imported from Detroit" slogan.

Imported does not mean "automatically sexy and better."  And Detroit, contrary to the common belief here on the West Coast, is not in Canada or any other country.  Goods made in Detroit are not imported, they are good old Amuuurrrrrcan cars.  

Now, if we could disassociate the git-r-done, Amuuurrrrcan thing from domestic production, the whole thing would be more palatable.  Luxury, fancy, whatever car, made here...by us.

// I am especially sensitive to the "Michigan is in Canada, right?" thing since *honestly* I have been asked that multiple times.  These commercials do not help.  


February 6th, 2012 at 3:11 PM ^

But I liked last year's better--better images, just better. In addition, Clint's has a mixed metaphor ("We're going to get right back up, and when we do, the world's going to hear the roar of our engines." Are we boxers or cars (or jet engines)?) Mixed metaphors are like leading a horse to water and trying to look in its mouth.

Feat of Clay

February 6th, 2012 at 3:14 PM ^

I thought it lacked iconic imagery that would make you say "Hell yes DETROIT!" or AMERICA F*CK YEAH"  

Seriously.  It was like, road, school, grey sky with tree branches, bummed-out looking families.  Pretty generic, with a few exceptions.  Last year, nearly every scene was Detroit, Detroit, Detroit.  Even if you don't know the city well enough to recognize the landmarks, you knew it was somewhere.  Too many vaguely "anywhere" scenes in this one, IMO.


February 6th, 2012 at 3:47 PM ^

I think the Detroit, Detroit, Detroit message has an important place, but doesn't need to be the main message in every one of their commercials. I think the "vaguely anywhere" and national perspective was precisely what the people writing it were going for. It was perhaps a bit too sentimental and dreary, but I think highlighting their entire line of products along with addressing the country as a whole is not a bad strategy.