Super Bowl Ad Starring Detroit Creates Buzz

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Most Super Bowl ads Sunday night sold products, places or events, but one ad actually set out to sell a city. And over the span of a lengthy two minutes, it became a rallying point of local pride, all while creating nationwide buzz.

Chrysler, which seemed to have one foot in the grave just a year ago, debuted its $9 million “Imported From Detroit” spot for its new Chrysler 200 sedan featuring Detroit-bred rapper Eminem.

But the car itself wasn’t even prominent in the ad. Instead, it starred Detroit itself. Rather than the atypical shots of the abandoned Packard Plant or the dilapidated Michigan Central rail station, it fused together shots of the Joe Louis arm sculpture, several plants, Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry mural, and the city’s skyline shot from the MacArthur Bridge.

(More on TIME.com: See TIME’s yearlong look at Detroit.)

Finally, rolling into the Fox Theatre, hosted by a choir, Eminem pointed to the camera and announced “This is the Motor City, and this is what we do.”

In other words, it was a love letter either to or from Detroit. Or both.

The commercial, which has already yielded 992,000 YouTube page views so far, instantly exploded as a point of pride in Detroit and surprise elsewhere. “Did you see it? Or, if you’re a Detroiter, did you feel it?” Detroit Free Press columnist Ron Dzwonkowski asked.

Even Advertising Age gave the spot its props: “What starts out as a down-on-our-luck tribute to a broken city morphs into a defiant, we’re-back rallying cry…Tea partiers and labor unions alike will cheer this one.”

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