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Chrysler: Imported From Detroit

AutomobilePortland

A comeback story from the last car company anyone thought would make a comeback.

Chrysler had one chance to tell its comeback story. The message had to train the public’s eye on Chrysler’s future, not the past, and demonstrate Chrysler’s possibility, energy, and will to win. Our insight was that the very city that represented Chrysler’s decline would be the source of what could save it. If we could bring back Detroit, then we could bring back Chrysler’s rightful place within it.

Our goal was to instill pride in buying American once again. To do so, we created a campaign and a provocative framework for thinking and talking about Chrysler cars: Imported from Detroit. The idea means the quality of an import combined with the pride of buying American.

On February 6, 2011, we introduced Imported from Detroit to the American public. Chrysler used the Super Bowl as its stage, airing a two-minute anthem with 111 million people watching. The Emmy-winning commercial, called “Born of Fire,” featured an American icon and anthem: Eminem and a version of his track, “Lose Yourself.” The spot launched Chrysler’s comeback and captivated the American public.

Chrysler asked us to take the brand back to the Super Bowl on February 5, 2012. This time, we wanted to use the idea of Imported from Detroit coupled with the collective brands of Chrysler LLC to show viewers what buying American could do for the country. Chrysler returned to the Super Bowl with a two-minute halftime speech for America starring Clint Eastwood. We reminded Americans that we are far better united than we are divided and that the comeback of Detroit meant that America too was on its way back.

The “Imported From Detroit” campaign garnered a patriotic response that was both inspiring and acclaimed. It also built Chrysler’s business. One month after launched, sales had more than tripled. Chrysler brand was up 80% in year-to-date sales growth over 2010. Chrysler Group LLC was up 44% in year-to-date sales growth over 2010 and the company paid off its government bailout six years early.

The momentum continued in 2012 with the company posting record profits— the first annual profits in years. This included the best January since 2008. In February, following the second campaign, the company realized a 114% year-over-year increase and posted triple-digit sales gains for each of its mid-size sedans.

It’s a campaign that reminds us if a company from a city that almost everyone had left for dead can rise again—we all can.