Eminem Helps Save Detroit’s Fledgling Auto Industry
Over the course of the last decade or so, sales of American cars have slumped dramatically as foreign rides have become more popular in the United States. American car companies like GM have been subjected to government bailouts to stay afloat and they’ve had to completely rethink the way they do business in order to actually stay in business. It’s been—pun intended—quite a ride for most of them.
But now, at least one American car company is turning a hefty profit and it has very little to do with the product they’re putting out on the street. Earlier this week, Chrysler announced they enjoyed a record-breaking first quarter in 2011—and they’re crediting Eminem (yes, Eminem!) for their success. His appearance in a Chrysler commercial during the 2011 Super Bowl has helped the American car company post a $116 million profit in the first three months of the year—which is up dramatically from last year when they posted a $197 million net loss during the same time period. The commercial we’re referring to, of course, is this one:
The message throughout the Slim Shady advertisement was simple: “This is the Motor City and this is what we do.” It was simple but also very gripping in that it didn’t try and woo consumers with cheesy special effects or an over-the-top marketing plan. It simply used Em as a spokesman for the city of Detroit and made it look cool to drive a Chrysler.
Which is why we’re wondering: Why the hell didn’t someone think of this about five years ago? It’s not like Em just became popular and it’s not like Detroit hasn’t had the reputation of being America’s forgotten city for years now. The D has always served as somewhat of a symbol for America—tough and unforgiving but also patriotic and all about repping for the good old U-S of A. So, why didn’t Ford or GM try this way earlier?
The truth is Em’s appearance was somewhat of a perfect storm. He just came off one of the biggest albums of his career. He was up for a handful of Grammy Awards when the spot aired. His own personal comeback story mirrored that of Detroit’s car companies. And the spot was powerful enough to make us feel as though Em actually believed every last word that was being spoken by the narrator.
And for that, we give Chrysler, Eminem, and the city of Detroit credit. They could have bowed out a long time ago. They could have submitted to the foreign car companies and given up their stronghold on the auto industry. They could have let the D sink further into oblivion. But instead, they fought—and in a single two-minute Super Bowl spot, they changed their entire perception.
Not bad. Not bad at all. Now who else wants to see if Em’s Midas touch can help save their industry?