Congratulations to Chrysler for running an emotionally uplifting two-minute advertisement during Sunday’s Super Bowl. Personally, I did not see the commercial when it first aired, but it sure showed up quickly on Facebook. A least five different friends posted it within minutes. According to one internet news story I saw today, the advertisement was voted the best of the Super Bowl. At last count, it also has more than 3.8 million hits on YouTube.
As far as I have been able to tell, every person I know who has seen the Chrysler commercial has had good comments about its positive theme. Granted, we Michiganders are a tad partial, but after years of negative press and being maligned, it is refreshing to see such a welcome depiction of Detroit and of Michigan. It is about time the state got the respect it deserves.
My own conundrum comes from the star in the commercial (Eminem). While I appreciate his efforts to champion his home town, I also think many of his lyrics and his attitude, especially towards women and gays have been loathsome. Furthermore, I personally prefer rock ‘n’ roll to rap music any day of the week. That being said, Eminem should get credit for standing up for Detroit and for not abandoning the city or state like so many others have done. With his wealth, it would have been a very easy thing to do.
The good news is that Eminem is not alone among celebrities in expressing their pride for the Great Lakes State. Actor Jeff Daniels has been doing the economic development department’s “Michigan Can Give You The Upper Hand” commercials for years and still resides in lovely Chelsea where he operates and oversees the Purple Rose Theater. Comedian Tim Allen has done the voice overs for the very popular and inspirational “Pure Michigan” tourism campaign and regularly wore sweat shirts depicting state colleges and universities on “Home Improvement.” Meanwhile, singer Kid Rock maintains his home north of Detroit and includes positive thoughts and images of Michigan in his music and videos. To my knowledge, none of these home-grown celebrities carry the same amount of “baggage” that Eminem does.
However, unlike Ted Nugent, Jack White, and other celebrities who have left the state for perceived greener pastures, Eminem, Jeff Daniels, Aretha Franklin, Kid Rock, and Tim Allen have largely stayed true to the land of pure blue waters. What the long term effect the Chrysler commercial will have on Michigan’s global image is unknown. While I am thrilled the state’s collective morale has been boosted by the advertisement, a part of me wishes Chrysler had chosen one of the other home grown stars listed above to represent the state, though I have to admit it may not have had the same impact.