W+K’s new 300 spot uses a 1917 poem by Detroit poet Edgar Albert Guest

Chrysler started 2011 with its “Born of Fire” spot on the Super Bowl, using a defiant Eminem to insist that the carmaker and its flagship city were still in the game. Now, at year’s end, the message in Chrysler’s new commercial, “See It Through,” is much the same, but offered up this week as a kind of  Thanksgiving grace for the gains of the year and hope for an industry and city that still have a long recovery ahead.

Gone is the in-your-face rapper, and there is none of the ruin-porn imagery usually associated with Detroit. Instead, Chrysler narrates the commercial with the motivational words of Michigan poet laureate Edgar Albert Guest, a Detroit immigrant who started out as a copy boy at the Detroit Free Press in the 1890s and wrote “See It Through” in 1917 to address the hardships of World War I. The carmaker has been positioning the Chrysler 300 as “earned luxury,” and Guest’s aspirational piece sets up nicely framed stills and filmed shots of the diverse citizens of Detroit and its affluent suburbs, where those cars presumably sit next to the manicured lawns of those who have arrived. The soundtrack of Muddy Waters singing “Mannish Boy” provides a hard-working blues backdrop, but one that is more encouraging than downbeat.

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