sxc marketing

Chrysler 200 Rant. “USA Today” is the News equivalent of a Happy Meal.

Posted on: March 8, 2011

Chrysler ran an ad on the Superbowl in 2011 for the Chrystler 200, that embodied their brand, repositioned it, and grittily carved out a niche. “Imported from Detroit.” It was quite possibly one of the most brilliant stances taken by a car company, for reasons I will explain below. In disservice to that ad USA Today rated the Ads in the Superbowl based on a panel of viewers via second-by-second responses to ads during the game. The ranking for Chrysler 200? 44. Huh? It has be gnawing at me for weeks, so I finally decided to rant about it.

Let me explain…

Imported from Detroit

Chrysler 200: Imported from Detroit

WARNING: If you are easily offended please do not read. And if you plan on chiding me for my rant after reading, I gave fair warning. So don’t blame me, blame your lack of being able to take direction.

Begin Rant…

First, “USA Today” is the News equivalent of a Happy Meal, and more damaging to your health. It is the “We are fracking sheep so please tell us what to think and give us a cartoonish info-graphic so we do not have to use our higher brain functions.”

How big was the panel? 282 Americans from two cities; Bakersfield, Calif., and McLean, Va. It appears as if these 282 viewers wouldn’t know a good ad if it invaded their colon a deposited gold coins.

Once again USA Today masquerades as journalism and providing value, couched in a measly infographic type attempt at research. Using 282 people as a source is not an indicator as to what is EFFECTIVE as advertising, for advertising effectiveness requires meme potential; and this ad has it.

Second, if car companies based their future product decisions on this type of research, we’d all be driving Edsels, as this has relatively little to do with need-states of consumers and actual purchase decisions.

Do you LIKE me? I don’t care, and I doubt the 282 panelist would. It is whether an ad takes a POSITION firmly enough that people can PUSH against it. For only the push of an opinion against an ad can create the debate necessary for something to transcend the broadcast of that ad to word-of-mouth. And that is where the selling happens.

Much like my writing, which has little to do with firmly held convictions or beliefs, but much to do about writing in a way that ARRESTS; causing a momentary outrage or exhilaration, that stirs thoughts in the grey matter of a brain dead society barren of culture; so that it stirs debate. It is taking POSITIONAL stances on issues that allows an ad to take shape as MEME. Stating, “We are THIS!”

Too many wimpy-ass ruled-by-committee middle marketing managers have sucked the life out of possibly OFFENDING anyone that their ads IMPACT no one.

The Chrysler ad is not targeted at a coastal elitist view of luxury, not the Luxe brand, not Mercedes or the neuvo-riche aspirational set viewing the rest of the country as “fly over.” The type of luxury they are going after is the vast majority of Americans for whom a Ford 150 is luxury.

That gritty, “I will never be caught dead in a German car” type. The tea-party, gun wielding, fire breathing proud liberal debate you over beers “you narrow headed punk,” hard-knocks, get your hands dirty, climate change is a conspiracy, you’re not my kind of Christian aspirational set.

The “we are sick of driving our kids to football practice in a crappy minivan; Jesus! we look like [BLEEP] doing that.” The beers, poker night out, bowling, crass, still pinch the waitresses butt, “thank god we don’t have to work in the mines like our fathers” Americans.

And if the 9.000.000+ views on YouTube are any indication, there are a boatload more of them buying Chryslers than the 282 panelists from Bakersfield, CA or even the vacuous shores of McLean, VA will ever see. I have been to Detroit several times over the last decade. And no, it is not part of the America you think of as America while sipping some overpriced fracking unpronounceable drink. It has desperately held on by a thread while auto-executives sold them down the river, their tax-base disappeared, and WE all bailed them out.

So the new luxury, is an old-school “frack you” to the rest of the America that used it as the butt end of jokes for the last couple of decades.

Welcome to the New America, Imported from Detroit.

Ranty rant signing off…

4 Responses to "Chrysler 200 Rant. “USA Today” is the News equivalent of a Happy Meal."

Um, isn’t bitching about USA Today a bit like a comedian doing 20 on the pitfalls of flying or the vapidity of dan quayle?


That spot did rock, though I think M’s stupid Brisk ad dulled its edge.

Totally agree. Great ad!

9+MM views on YouTube about says it all, doesn’t it?

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