Since I returned to my hometown Detroit area a few years ago, I’ve fallen in love with the Chrysler 200, first introduced to me by my brother Bill, who retired from Chrysler Engineering, the second generation to work there after my Dad. So it made me especially proud that Chrysler brightened the Super Bowl each year with a spectacular ad that saluted my hometown and featured super stars Eminem, Clint Eastwood and Bob Dylan.
This year’s Super Bowl reflected the company’s transition into a global firm, FCA – and the ads for Fiat, Chrysler and Dodge took on an international theme, instead of the Detroit pride emphasis of the past.
Still, the quality and audience appeal was clearly still there. In particular, the 60 second Fiat video ad drew overwhelming crowd approval and laughter as it followed the journey of a Viagra-like blue pill accidentally thrown out of a bedroom window on its flight throughout an Italian landscape. When it finally lands in the gas tank of a Fiat 500, the red car is transformed into the new 500X crossover. In an NBC analysis, it was rated one of the top ads because the audience loved the sexy inuendos portrayed in such a funny and classy way.
A second 60 second ad, “Wisdom” was another short video that starred 11 centenarians thoughtfully giving advice for living life to the fullest before sinister laughter and burning rubber in a 2015 Dodge Challenger.
The finale for Fiat Chrysler was a scenic, 90-second spot for the Jeep Renegade – and, according to the Detroit News, the automaker used this ad to make Jeep a significant international brand by taking viewers on a world-wide journey through lyrics of “This Land Is Your Land”sung by Marc Scibilia — spanning the globe to locations across the U.S., Italy, Brazil, China, Spain, United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, Thailand and United Arab Emirates. Data provided by the music discovery app Shazam showed that the Nashville singer-songwriter’s version of Woody Guthrie’s classic anthem was the top searched musical moment of the game, outside of the half-time show.
According to a statement from Fiat Chrysler Chief Marketin g Officer Olivier Francios, “FCA US always strives to do something different, something unexpected yet with a purpose, for the largest television audience of the year and this year’s Super Bowl videos are no exception.” While I had been hoping for another spectacular salute to my hometown, I also like to think that Detroit after the bankruptcy will take on the new cosmopolitan and international tone set by FCA – my hometown, for sure, deserves to laugh and celebrate its very real global impact.