I guess everybody wants to talk about last night’s Chrysler ad. OK. Let’s all watch it first; this looks like a nice HD version:
Wow. This is probably the seventh or eighth time I’ve watched it, and it keeps getting better. The opening shots are of the Rouge complex, the vast field of ominous smokestacks on the south side that you see from I-75 as you enter the metro area. It is not a pretty sight. It’s the sort of thing that if you were, say, a middle-aged woman coming to town on a house-hunting trip with your husband and little girl, preparing at midlife to pull up stakes and start over in a new city, and the day was gray and cold anyway, and suddenly the freeway starts to rise and you’re looking down at a place that looks like a set for a dystopian sci-fi flick featuring killer robots and toxic-avenger zombies — if you were that person, you might wonder what you’d gotten yourself into. (Not that I would know anything about that.)
Not only that, but the scene was shot in winter. No Pebble Beach ocean vistas or green mountain switchbacks or Bonneville salt flats with picturesque dust clouds, just bare trees, leaden skies and those clouds that roll in at Thanksgiving and don’t roll out until Easter except for once in a while in winter, when they are replaced by single-digit temperatures. Yep, this is the industrial Midwest, all right. The people we see on the street — Door Man and Dapper Man in Crosswalk — are African-American, as is the Fist. But not everybody. Look, a pretty skater. Are those real Lions doing roadwork? Can’t say. But it’s snowing, it’s cold, the manhole covers can’t contain the steam that rises up from below.
Is this hell? No, it’s Detroit. (And it’s a lot cooler.)
Now we see more of the car, because of course this is a car ad. If you’re an Eminem fan, or even know his face, you’ve already figured out who’s driving. After all, that’s his music on the soundtrack, along with…is that a gospel choir? Oh, man, they are going to go right up to the edge, aren’t they? And then here we are at the Fox — great marquee message, just fabulous — and yes, that is a gospel choir. Careful, Marshall, gospel choirs have been the ruin of many pop artists; they must be handled like plutonium, careful careful…
“This is the Motor City. And this is what we do.”
Perfect. In another venue, it would have played as bombast, but this is the Super Bowl. It’s where bombast goes to recharge itself, after it’s tired from visiting with Rush Limbaugh and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. This is where Apple dared to compare itself to George Orwell, where the Budweiser Clydesdales honored 9/11 victims, where a former presidential candidate made a joke about getting a boner for Britney Spears. You can’t go too far here, or if you can, no one has done it yet. And you came a little close, but not really. And you did it with such style. Ten out of 10. I hope the car’s half as good. You’re certainly going to sell a shitload of them here.
I hope this doesn’t signal the moment when Detroit Chic suddenly goes mainstream. If it does, I hope I can sell my screenplay first.
Elsewhere on the ad front, I can’t really speak with authority, as I only had the game on for background noise and didn’t watch all that closely. But, in general:
Darth Vader/Passat — very cute. However, I really wish I hadn’t read this obnoxious blog post about it first.
Groupon — ooh, edgy! I feel provoked! It’s so provocative! Actually, I’m not sure I trust Groupon anyway. I’ve used them once, for an opera ticket last fall, and felt I got what I paid for, i.e., a terrible seat for half price. But the half off stuff just seems wrong. From what I’ve heard, you offer at least a 50 percent discount, and then split the rest with Groupon, which means your discount is now 75 percent. I suppose the idea is to bring in new business, but I suspect it also brings in chintzy customers who tip for shit. Someone else, enlighten me.
The rest are a blur. No, I remember the Kia Optima, the epic journey. That was worth the time.
So. Another Monday, under a Monday-in-Detroit kind of sky. It’s been snowing on and off for three days, and finally, I feel like we have enough. I’ll feel differently in another month, but for now, the blanket seems just about right.
And now I have to get to work. Not in a Diego Rivera-mural sort of way, but in my own fashion. I risk repetitive strain injury! My collar is…well, at the moment it’s a turtleneck. Have a good day, all.