Saturday, February 11, 2012

Morning in America or halftime in America?

Morning in America or Halftime in America? Which Do You Prefer?

Chrysler followed up on last year’s Super Bowl ad “Imported from Detroit” with this year’s "Halftime in America," a moving testimonial by Clint Eastwood to the rebirth of American industry and Motor City. He went from “They almost lost everything” to “But we all pulled together. Now Motor City is fighting again.” Only at the end of the 2 minute spot do we learn it’s an ad for Chrysler.

It could easily have been a reelection ad for Obama, such that conservative commentators have been quick to question the ad as a reelection ploy for President Obama rather than a corporate ad by Chrysler.

Circumstantial evidence would certainly point to that theory. It extolled the rebirth of Detroit; that is, General Motors and Chrysler. The two had been rescued, actually seized, in bankruptcy by the Obama Administration. Control of Chrysler was then turned over to Fiat, essentially for free. Fiat and Chrysler owe a lot to the President.

Second, the top mad men in the advertising agency which prepared the ad have been major backers of the President.

The head of Chrysler denies it was intended as an Obama ad. The marketing manager of Chrysler denies it. The agency denies it. Clint Eastwood denies it; he is not a fan of the President. He may be losing his voice, but his mind is functioning fine. He would not be duped into making an ad for the President.

Let’s assume therefore it was not intended to help or pay back the President. It’s still a poor ad.

It’s a great feel good ad, but it’s a bad ad after a few minutes of reflection.
President Reagan’s 1984 reelection campaign theme was “It’s morning again in America.” – an optimistic picture of America, along the lines that our greatest days are still ahead of us. It highlighted on 59 seconds the rebirth of the American economy. It signaled the rebirth of America after the disastrous 4 years of President Carter. The always optimistic President Reagan told us the best was yet to come.

By way of contrast, Halftime in America means it’s half over; half the teams lose after halftime. Which half will be America and the Motor City? More Americans purchase Japanese and Korean cars than Detroit products.

That’s not really a positive message. Win or lose for America, it’s half over. Win or lose, America will be on a downward slide.

The ad mentioned the rebirth of the Motor City, but if so, why was it filmed in Los Angeles and New Mexico rather than Detroit?

Last year’s moving “Imported from Detroit” was also deceptive in that the featured car, the Chrysler 300, is made in Canada – not Detroit.

Chrysler’s new compact, the Dodge Dart, is but a rebadged Fiat.

Where’s the FTC with truth in advertising?

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