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Critics attack successful Super Bowl ad

by Bill Cawthon on

The two-minute Chrysler “Born of Fire” spot that appeared during the broadcast of Super Bowl XVL received high marks from many (and an uptick in customer interest) but is now coming under fire from self-described conservatives.

On Monday, Mark Steyn, a Canadian writer and commentator, sitting in for Rush Limbaugh, lashed out at Chrysler repeatedly for spending million “taxpayer” dollars on an ad glorifying Detroit, which Steyn likened to a bombed-out, post World War II European city. The only difference, according to Steyn, is that Detroit did it to itself with what he called “the Liberal Bomb.”

During his six-minute rant, Steyn pointed out Detroit’s literacy rate, saying that “nearly half the grownups in Detroit couldn’t graduate from elementary school.” [Steyn himself dropped out of high school to work as a disk jockey.]

Conservative blog RightNetwork’s Jim Hoft said “Chrysler released their $9 million Super Bowl ad while requesting more taxpayer dollars. It’s an Obama World out there.” Hoft also said of Chrysler’s “Style” spot, “It’s ads like this one that make Americans wish for a different feel, a different country and a different president.”

Shira Ovide wrote in the Wall Street Journal: “Chrysler is 9% owned by taxpayers after a $9 billion federal rescue two years ago, and it’s part owned and run by an Italian, Fiat’s Sergio Marchionne. Can the company still brag about its Detroit origins?”

In the Washington Examiner, a free-distribution daily newspaper owned by billionaire Phillip Anschutz, J.P. Friere opined: “… it is likely that this ad had more to do with getting political support than selling cars. Besides, is spending millions on a Super Bowl ad appropriate for a company that received a taxpayer bailout to recover from a bankruptcy?”

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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