The Chrysler 200: Imported from Where?
By Charles Krome
Here in the Detroit area, the most exciting part of last night’s football game had little to do with the final score; instead, most of the buzz focused on the sight of Eminem driving around the city in a new Chrysler 200. But while it turned out to be a nice commercial for Detroit itself, I’m not so sure how effective it was for the automaker.
Certainly, with the 200 and Motown each being much improved this year, an ad celebrating the rebirth of both made sense. And going with the local boy made good as the co-star—especially when said local boy is an edgy, internationally famous rapper with numerous current Grammy noms—was a bold yet ideal strategy, perhaps even representing a nod to when Snoop Dogg came a-calling to DaimlerChrysler for a new 300 back in the day.
But I do have two nits to pick here. First off, let’s set the way-back machine for 2002, when the modern-day cinema epic known as “8 Mile” debuted. There’s a scene in there in which our hero, played by a certain Marshall Mathers, is facing off against his detractors during a free-style rap battle. And when it’s time for Mr. Mathers to start dissing one of the guys who had been running him down, he drops the following rhyme: “But I know something about you/You went to Cranbrook, that’s a private school.”
Because, obviously, the worst thing you can do in that movie is to try to come off like a “real” Detroit gangsta when you actually went to a highly selective, internationally renowned educational facility that’s located in the tony suburban environs of Bloomfield Hills and where tuition for grades 9-12 runs a cool $27,450 per year. For those unfamiliar with Cranbrook, I suggest a visit to Wikipedia.
And for those unfamiliar with the geography of the Detroit area, I’ll point out that Cranbrook is about 26 miles away from Joe Louis’ big black fist downtown, and Auburn Hills, where Chrysler is actually headquartered, is 30 miles distant. Sterling Heights, where the 200 is assembled, is a few miles closer in, but I’d say it only qualifies as the Motor City in the minds of Chrysler’s ad agency.
The Chrysler 200 “Imported from Detroit”? Only on TV.
The bigger quibble involves a bigger stretch: No matter how good the new 200 is now, can anyone who knows either the auto industry or Eminem really believe the latter is going to be driving around in the former?