Controversial? Perhaps, but a jury of its peers also has found Chrysler’s “Imported from Detroit” Super Bowl spot highly effective.
The campaign, which includes a series of ads playing off the Super Bowl spots with rapper Eminem — and then followed this year by commercials narrated by Clint Eastwood — has won a Grand Effie, the advertising industry’s answer to the Oscar.
“Imported from Detroit was the Grand Effie winner because they sold the product, the category and the city,” said Deborah Sandler, a Grand Effie jury member, following the 44th annual Effie Awards Gala in New York City.
Produced by agency Wieden+Kennedy, Imported from Detroit was declared the Grand Effie winner, the equivalent of best-in-show or, if you prefer, the advertising world’s Best Film.
The winner wasn’t finalized until hours before the event, organizers revealed, Chrysler’s campaign against up against some tough competition that included: Allstate Insurance Company’s Mayhem, Kellogg’s Special K’s What Will You Gain When You Lose?, Troy Public Library’s Book Burning Party, and IKEA’s Moving Day.
Chrysler’s original Imported from Detroit ad, shown during the 2011 Super Bowl, was a standout if, for no other reason, its 2-minute length and its use of rapper Eminem. The 2012 version was equally long but shifted to Clint Eastwood who delivered a gritty rap of his own, so to speak, about American willpower.
Ironically, the second Super Bowl spot triggered sharp rebukes from some critics, including several prominent leaders of the GOP, who felt it promoted the controversial 2009 federal bailout of Chrysler (and cross-town rival General Motors). Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne later insisted there was no political intent to the campaign. For their part, members of the Effie jury focused on the effectiveness of Wieden+Kennedy’s efforts.
“The Chrysler work had a depth of effectiveness that stood out from the rest of the Grand Effie Finalists. They gave that brand its soul back,” said another Grand Effie jury member, Jeff Benjamin, CCO, North America, JWT.
As with the Academy Awards, the Effies cover a wide range of categories, and among other automotive winners were Porsche, which took second place in the autos category for its campaign for the seventh-generation 911 sports car. Chevrolet grabbed third for its “More than Electric” pitch for the Chevy Volt. Kia was honored in a separate category for its “Slam Dunk” commercial.
Other automotive winners at the Effie Awards included Porsche grabbing second place in the automotive category for “How Porsche created new relevance for a revered icon,” and Chevrolet taking third for “Chevy Volt, it’s more than electric.”
Kia also grabbed a third-place honor in the Single Impact Engagement category for its “Not your average slam dunk” commercial.
Beyond the automotive industry, Effie organizers announced “Procter & Gamble is the most effective advertiser in North America, IBM is the most effective brand, WPP is the most effective advertising holding company and Ogilvy & Mather is the most effective advertising agency network. Ogilvy & Mather’s New York office is the most effective individual agency office, while McKinney, based in Durham, North Carolina, is the most effective independently held advertising agency.”