The first person I worked for was Hal Riney, the man who, over whiskeys at the Washbag, wrote the famous "It's Morning Again in America" for Ronald Reagan. Hal wrote those ads at a unique time in America's history and the work framed Reagan as a leader who had successfully rekindled the great possibility of the American Dream.
Like a lot of people, I was reminded of those ads yesterday during the Super Bowl, when the spirit of Detroit was once again celebrated, this time by the former mayor of Carmel, California wandering through an ad made by an advertising agency from Oregon for a great Italian car company that is located in some foreign land called Auburn Hills.
With all due respect to Chrysler's work -- and I think it's emotional and compelling stuff, though perhaps a little rambling and incoherent -- I am much more interested in this very different, very short film, "9 Businesses," a sincere celebration of our city's entrepreneurs, local business people who have dreams, ideas and discipline and who are currently making our city a more vibrant and successful place. It's an especially resonant message for our city right now. I've never seen a city where one person can make a difference like they can in Detroit today. We may not be the proverbial shining city on the hill, but there is an energy and a sense of possibility here that is magnetic and dynamic and fascinating.
So, if you know someone who goes on and on about the business they want to open or the company they want to launch or the start-up they want to make happen, forward them this. And then -- to coin a line from another ad done by the same Oregon agency that does those Chrysler ads -- tell 'em to get off their butts and just do it.
Editor's Note: Toby Barlow is the creative director of Team Detroit, which is a founder of Signal Return. He advised the production of "9 Businesses."