Lose Yourself in Chrysler

The commercial I chose to analyze was one of the top rated commercials from the 2011 Super Bowl. Chrysler for the past few years has shelled out big money to put out 2 minute Super bowl ads, as much as $12 million (http://www.askmen.com/top_10/sports/top-10-2011-super-bowl-commercials_9.html). The real interesting part about these ads however, is that while they’re selling their brand not by talking about their products, but rather appealing to people’s emotions. This ad seems to be targeting lower-middle and lower class individuals. The ad starts by acknowledging the hard times Detroit has been through recently with the auto industry collapse and even indirectly referencing how Detroit has been a “hard-knock” city. However the narrator then starts to play on people’s emotions by stating that “it’s the hottest fires that make the hardest steel”. Throughout this intro there are almost cinematic level shots of buildings, statues, and people from Detroit. Here they’re targeting the “common man” by trying to use the down-turn economy as a way to get a large group of diverse people to feel united under the umbrella of adversity. The narrator then starts to criticize the “1%” by talking about how the people who talk about and criticize Detroit don’t know understand true work ethic, or haven’t even been to Detroit. Then the narrator starts the inspiration talk with lines like “when it comes to luxury, it’s as much about where it’s from as who it’s for”. He again starts appealing to the lower-middle and lower class by talking about how they aren’t these big fancy cities like New York, Chicago, or Vegas. While he’s talking about all this, the beat for Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” is playing in the background while we see Eminem himself driving a Chrysler. This was a genius move from Chrysler, given that Eminem grew up in Detroit and as always been an advocator of the city. The song “Lose Yourself” was one of the most popular songs of the early 2000s, even winning an Academy Award for Best Original Song. Even those who didn’t follow the rap scene knew about this song about an underdog trying to make it in the world. To anyone who knows the song, and given the demographics they’re targeting my guess is quite a few, this song further pushes the main idea of this advertisement about underdogs. We even discussed in class earlier this semester that we as humans love underdog stories. This ad is appealing to the lower class of Americans in one of the best ways they could.
There is probably a good chance that the makers of this ad used the VALS system to categorize their target audience. The VALS system segments audiences into eight categories based on their personality traits that affect behavior in the marketplace and the amount of resources they have to spend. Based on this system the audience segments they were targeting were Believers, Achievers, and Strivers. Believers have modest incomes who are motivated by ideals and who favor American products and established brands. This ad definitely appeals to them because not only does it push the ideal of hard work and persevering through tough times, but it definitely makes a big point that these cars are made in Detroit, a very American city. Achievers are successful work-oriented people who get their satisfaction from their jobs and families and favor established products and services that show off their success to their peers. This ad appeals to this group in two ways. As with the Believers, the ideal of hard work and perseverance greatly appeals to this group of appeal. This ad also appeals to this group of people because of the brand name itself. Chrysler is a well-known name synonymous with luxury. Throughout the commercial are shots of the new Chrysler and it definitely has a style that almost demands respect from anyone looking at it. The last group this appeals to is the strivers. This group does not make a lot of many but are motivated by achievements. Style is extremely important to them because they constantly strive to emulate people they admire. This ad appeals to this group by the ideal of hard work and perseverance that also appeal to the believers, but also because of the style aspect that appealed to the achievers. This ad overall appeals to all three groups by appealing to the emotional side of people rather than the rational. As the Malefyt article about Marketing Media Through Sensory Modalities said “Perhaps this trend of marketing sensations to consumer sentiments has gained such rapid ascension because it closely accords with Western assumptions of emotional embodiment…..emotions are assumed to represent the site of the true self, a natural product ‘synonymous with the uncorrupted, the pure, the honest, the original’”. By making an appeal to the emotional side of people with this ad, they are more likely to accept and like it because it identifies with the core of who they are, and most people like themselves.
Overall I would say that this advertisement was very successful because it created a general good feeling among the people who watched it and seemed to hit their target audience perfectly. I honestly wouldn’t change anything about this ad. Well maybe make Eminem blink a little less but I’m not sure if that’s possible.

-Alex Youngman-

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