Can Chrysler Tell Us What’s True And Sell Us A Car?

Joe Staples, Creative Director at Wieden+Kennedy, shares with the TED audience his thoughts on the Chrysler Super Bowl spot and the future of advertising.

I’ve said before how much I like the commercial, but I’m reminded by a comment on TED’s site from one Peter Gillespie, what it is about the the commercial in question that I like. I like the pace, the two-minute media buy, the contentious copy and the photography. But there’s more to consider. Always.

Let’s hear from Gillespie:

I was offended by this ad and by what I felt was the mindless glorification of luxury and conspicuous consumption. I found this to be particularly insensitive coming from a city (and major economic actor in that city) that is so sick it has to appeal to civic pride to sell cars. It should be immoral to conflate consumption with pride of place. That is the equivalent of saying, “I am fat because I live in New Orleans”, or “I am a shyster because I live in New York”, or “I am slick because I live in Washington”. How simple. How naive. How offensive to people who really do care about comfort and owning the best.

Staples discusses the need for honesty and how W+K delivered it for Detroit, Eminem and Chrysler. “There’s a view that advertising just makes up its own truths. But people that are honest to what’s going on tell the truth in a disarming way,” Stales says. I don’t know that Chrysler’s “Born of Fire” spot is disarming, but it does get at a truth. Yet truth, which clearly ought to be black and white, often is not. Gillespie’s truth is far different from Staples’ and the brand’s truth. “It should be immoral to conflate consumption with pride of place,” is Gillespie’s truth, and I don’t think he’s all alone in that opinion.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.