After Chrysler got the buzz it intended from its Clint Eastwood-backed "Halftime in America" Super Bowl ad, the automaker is moving on to the "second half" with a set of four new commercials that tell hopeful stories of individual triumphs.
The commercials, one each for Chrysler, Ram, Dodge and Jeep, feature sentimental stories of Americans making it through hard times. A girl adapts to a new town where her family moved for her mother's job; a wife appreciates her husband's struggles to support the family.
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The spots purposefully follow Chrysler's "Halftime in America" commercial that aired during this year's Super Bowl, in which Clint Eastwood told of Detroit's and America's struggles, but declared "the Motor City is fighting again."
That ad stirred up a bit of controversy, as some wondered if it had a pro-auto bailout, pro-Obama message. Chrysler denied the claim, as did Eastwood, who had previously criticized the federal bailout of Chrysler and General Motors.
Over at Autoblog, they're already predicting some political speculation around the new spots:
Ironically, the messages in these ads, which Chrysler is calling its "Second Half" campaign, about self reliance and determination (we hear in the Ram ad that our hero refused financial help from his father-in-law) is probably thematically closer to campaign-year Republican rhetoric than Democratic.
Chrysler seemed to do well with its streak of high-profile, Detroit-related commercials (2011's "Imported From Detroit" Super Bowl prominently featured the Motor City and rapper Eminem). The campaigns boosted the city's image and potentially wooed its residents, but the newest commercials break away from the Detroit theme and take a trip to the country and smaller towns.
While the "Imported from Detroit" tagline remains, the urban backdrop disappears and is replaced with hopeful music, sun-drenched fields and open roads. "All that matters is what's ahead," is the line that ends one ad.
For a positive message, there's good reason for the ads take place outside Detroit. The "Second Half" characters might be past halftime, but the city, which is currently struggling with a massive deficit, isn't quite out of the locker room.
According to a blog post from Chrysler Group LLC Chief Marketing Officer Olivier Francois, the commercials, created with the Portland, Ore.-based advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy, will make their television premieres over the weekend, showing during the NCAA men's basketball semi finals (Jeep and Chrysler) and national championship game (Dodge), as well as NHL (Dodge) games, NASCAR (Ram) races, the American Country Music Awards (Ram) and "Mad Men" (Chrysler).
Below, watch the latest four ads and Chrysler's previous Detroit-themed commercials: