Monday, February 7, 2011

'A Town That's Been to Hell and Back'

One of the best commercials during the Super Bowl last night struck me as somewhat familiar. It was an ad for the Chrysler 200 sedan that used the car to tell the story of Detroit's rebirth, and vice versa. Eminem, a proud hometown boy, is featured prominently, along with the opening chords of his terrific anthem "Lose Yourself" and some strong narration that grabs you by the throat, or maybe just the heart:
What does this city know about luxury? What does a town that's been to hell and back know about the finer things in life? Well, I'll tell you. More than most. You see, it's the hottest fires that make the hardest steel. Add hard work and conviction, and a know-how that runs generations deep in every last one of us. That's who we are. That's our story.
I think the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau (DMCVB) would approve, because this is the story that the organization has been telling for the last several years, and something very close to the approach that it's been using. As we reported in our cover story last May, DMCVB has been proud of the city's past, upfront about its hardscrabble public image, and determined to focus on the reality of a destination that's in the process of reimagining and revitalizing itself. The Chrysler 200 is the facet of that narrative -- albeit a particularly shiny, elegant one.

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