Chrysler's "Born of Fire" commercial was the top vote-getter on YouTube's Super Bowl Ad Blitz. The spot, featuring Detroiter Eminem, outpolled ads from Bridgestone and Doritos. To view the results, visit the YouTube Ad Blitz website.
The two-minute ad has generated tremendous buzz in some parts of the country, with some calling it one of the best Super Bowl ads of all time. Advertising Age's Ken Wheaton gave it four stars, his top rating. CBS News rated it No. 3 behind Volkswagen's "Darth Vader" spot and Best Buy's commercial with Justin Bieber and Ozzy Osbourne. The San Francisco Chronicle was one of several media outlets on the West Coast giving the Chrysler spot high praise; the Chronicle's pop culture critic, Peter Hartlaub, rated it No. 2, writing, "An inspiring speech about American industrial know-how, along with photos of Detroit and music from Eminem's 'Lose Yourself' in the background. The rapper appears at the end in front of a choir: "This is Motor City. And this is what we do." It made me want to simultaneously wave a flag, punch someone in the face and get rid of my Honda. One of the few commercials in 2011 that captured the national zeitgeist. It also reinforced something that many Americans didn't know: Chrysler is still around. Mission accomplished, Chrysler."
The Christian Science Monitor said: "The two-minute Chrysler spot featuring rapper Eminem received both the highest volume and the most positive content in a stream of 250,000 tweets on Twitter, as ranked by BrandBowl2011, a social media metric created by Mullen, Radian6, and Boston.com."
Slate's John Swanberg said the Chrysler ad was the night's best, saying it was "so strong (he) didn't mind that it was paid for with taxpayer dollars." Swanberg concluded by saying, "It left me pumping my fist and pledging to buy American everything."
Elsewhere, the ad was seldom even in the running for top spot. On USA's Ad Meter poll, the Chrysler ad came in 43rd out of 61. In the New York Daily News, it wasn't even mentioned: it wasn't even an option in the reader's poll for top ad.
"I puzzled over Chrysler's daring yet laughably pretentious ad about a Detroit rebirth, in which Eminem drives meaningfully though the Motor City," wrote Herb Steuver in the Washington Post. "Tagline: "Imported from Detroit." It was a bold statement, delivered unconvincingly."
Unconvincingly? Then how would Mr. Steuver explain the 1619% increase in site traffic for the Chrysler 200 reported by Edmunds.com? Or the 267% increase in traffic for the Chrysler brand. Even a week after the ad's one-and-only airing, Chrysler traffic is still 87% higher than it was in the four weeks preceding the game. Contrast that with Volkswagen (up 7%) that had two of the other hot ads in the game, or Chevrolet, which is just 5% above its pre-game traffic.
The "Born of Fire" ad did what any ad is supposed to do: increase viewer interest in the product to the point the viewer takes action. Despite some experts' concerns that it was hard to tell whether the ad was promoting Chrysler or Detroit, consumers appear to have made the desired connection.