As a Michigander with family roots in the auto industry - my grandfather was rank-and-file UAW who knew Walter Reuther and one of my uncles was a long-time Chrysler worker - I'm captivated by the new Chrysler "Imported from Detroit" ad campaign, which premiered during the Super Bowl.
I get sucked in every time I see the ad, even though I know I shouldn't. It strikes a perfect note of midwestern ethos - fierce pride in the face of a hardscrabble existence and a belief that the final product is all the better for its humble origins. Detroit native Eminem provides the soundtrack for the ad via his biographical song, "Lose Yourself," suggesting that, like himself, Detroit is in Recovery.
The ad is a fascinating combination of social history and pop culture, gospel and rap, blight and luxury, all effectively combined to reinforce a deluded belief in the "American Dream," convince people that the economic recovery is real, and promote consumerism. The ad is so compelling that I want to believe it, I want to buy in to its message. No worries: I have no desire to buy a Chrysler. But I do want to buy the ad's faux populist message. I can't even remember the last time I was so drawn in by an ad campaign.