How do you sell American cars in 2014? By tricking people into first thinking your goods are Japanese or German.
Chrysler is launching a tongue-in-cheek campaign for its 200 model with TV ads featuring voiceovers that start in foreign languages, touting qualities commonly associated with cars built outside the U.S. Then, the narrators register faux shock that the car cruising across the screen is, in fact, a Chrysler. Reliability and performance are now "American things," the ads explain, in a bid to quickly to throw the brand's past self under the bus.
Created with agency Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore., the spots also feature scenery meant to cue foreign settings, like cherry blossoms and koi ponds for Japan (actually shot in Detroit) and a knockoff Autobahn for Germany (shot in Seattle). Chrysler is also promising a Swedish version focused on safety (filmed in San Francisco and Seattle).
They're branded with the tagline "America's Import," also slapped on the Bob Dylan Super Bowl ad from earlier this year. It's a more explicitly patriotic evolution of the "Imported from Detroit" tagline introduced by Eminem's ad for Chrysler during the 2012 Super Bowl, and reinforced by Clint Eastwood's halftime ad the following year.
But since it's apparently going for a mix of laughs and puffed-up American pride, it's really a shame there's no Anchorman movie about to come out—then the company could ride Ron Burgundy's coattails again.
Project: "Ready to Take on the World"
CMO, Chrysler Group, Fiat Group Automobiles, Head of Fiat Brand: Olivier
President and Chief Executive Officer, Chrysler Brand: Al Gardner
Director, Head of Global Advertising, Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram: Marissa Hunter
Head of Advertising, Chrysler Marketing: Melissa Garlick
Chrysler Brand Advertising Specialist: Danielle DePerro
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore.
Creative Directors: Aaron Allen, Kevin Jones, Michael Tabtabai
Copywriters: Smith Henderson, Brandon Davis ("Three Times" only)
Art Director: James Moslander
Producer: Bob Wendt
Production Assistant: Julie Gursha
Interactive, Social Strategy: Sarah Biedak
Strategic Planning: Andy Lindblade
Media, Communications Planning: Alex Barwick
Account Team: Cheryl Markley, Lani Reichenbach, Jourdan Merkow
Business Affairs: Dusty Slowik
Project Management: Jane Monaghan
Executive Creative Directors: Joe Staples, Mark Fitzloff
Head of Production: Ben Grylewicz
Production Company: Reset
Director: Andrew Douglas
Executive Producer: Jeff McDougall
Line Producer: Betsy Oliver
Director of Photography: Alwin Küchler
Editing Company: Joint
Editors: Matthew Hilber ("Japanese Quality," "German Performance"), Nicholas Davis ("Swedish Safety")
Assistant Editors: Dylan Sylwester, Kristy Faris
Post Producer: Leslie Carthy
Post Executive Producer: Patty Brebner
Visual Effects Company: Joint ("Japanese Quality" "German Performance – Autobahn" "German Performance – Three Times")
Flame Artist: Katrina Salicrup
Smoke Artist: Zack Jacobs
Visual Effects Producer: Alex Thiesen
Titles, Graphics: Brad Simon, W+K Studio Designer; Peiter Hergert, W+K Motion Designer
Visual Effects ("Swedish Safety" only)
Flame Artists: Simon Brewster, Andrew Eksner, Sarah Marikar, Katrina Salicrup
Smoke Artist: Zack Jacobs
Titles, Graphics: Brad Simon, W+K Studio Designer; Peiter Hergert W+K Motion Designer
Song: "The Fire" – The Roots
Mix Company: Joint
Mixer: Noah Woodburn
Producer: Alex Thiesen