Super Bowl ads provide tons of fodder for blogs, so I knew Chrysler's emotional fist-pump of a commercial for the new 200 sedan would generate traffic.

I had no idea how much. The first blog I visited, NFL Fanhouse, had neatly packaged the TV commercials aired during the Super Bowl and allowed viewers to comment on each ad individually.

Some commercials drew no responses at all, and six ads garnered more than 50 comments. Only two automotive spots generated much dialogue, including VW's clever Darth Vader ad for the new Passat, which pulled 166 comments.

But rapper Eminem's Chrysler ad far and away stirred up the NFL's blog site like none other. Within a week, 489 people had commented. Here's a sample:

  • “This hands down has to be the best commercial for this year's Super Bowl. It was filled with the emotion of a fallen city from an economical point of view.”
  • “If ‘pride’ is a sin, then I am truly condemned with this coursing through my veins for the city I love. I did not care that this commercial had any specific brand of car in it. I was not left with feelings of neglect towards all other issues we face as a city. I only noticed the message. Yes, there are those who say Detroit is dead, but without death, there is no life and no rebirth.”

Some of the feedback, understandably, was not so upbeat:

  • “Keep Detroit beautiful? Doesn't it have to be beautiful first?”
  • “Detroit did not build America … it failed it.”

We'll know soon enough if sales of the 200 got a boost from the “Imported from Detroit” commercial. But more than 120 million sets of eyes have seen it, and it left a lasting impression.

Should a company paying back its government loans spend a reported $9 million on a 2-minute Super Bowl ad? Maybe not. But Chrysler brass says reaching that many viewers with other forms of advertising would have cost much more.

Since the commercial aired, interest in the 200 has skyrocketed, which has dealers scurrying to get more vehicles from the plant in Sterling Heights, MI.


Tom Murphy is executive editor of Ward's AutoWorld magazine, with an emphasis on technology and suppliers.