Chrysler Celebrates Being American by Making You Think It’s German or Japanese

The outside-in approach

How do you sell American cars in 2014? By tricking people into first thinking your goods are Japanese or German.

Chrysler is launching a tongue-in-cheek campaign for its 200 model with TV ads featuring voiceovers that start in foreign languages, touting qualities commonly associated with cars built outside the U.S. Then, the narrators register faux shock that the car cruising across the screen is, in fact, a Chrysler. Reliability and performance are now "American things," the ads explain, in a bid to quickly to throw the brand's past self under the bus.

Created with agency Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore., the spots also feature scenery meant to cue foreign settings, like cherry blossoms and koi ponds for Japan (actually shot in Detroit) and a knockoff Autobahn for Germany (shot in Seattle). Chrysler is also promising a Swedish version focused on safety (filmed in San Francisco and Seattle).

They're branded with the tagline "America's Import," also slapped on the Bob Dylan Super Bowl ad from earlier this year. It's a more explicitly patriotic evolution of the "Imported from Detroit" tagline introduced by Eminem's ad for Chrysler during the 2012 Super Bowl, and reinforced by Clint Eastwood's halftime ad the following year.

But since it's apparently going for a mix of laughs and puffed-up American pride, it's really a shame there's no Anchorman movie about to come out—then the company could ride Ron Burgundy's coattails again.

Credits below.


Client: Chrysler

Project: "Ready to Take on the World"

CMO, Chrysler Group, Fiat Group Automobiles, Head of Fiat Brand: Olivier


President and Chief Executive Officer, Chrysler Brand: Al Gardner

Director, Head of Global Advertising, Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram: Marissa Hunter

Head of Advertising, Chrysler Marketing: Melissa Garlick

Chrysler Brand Advertising Specialist: Danielle DePerro

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore.

Creative Directors: Aaron Allen, Kevin Jones, Michael Tabtabai

Copywriters: Smith Henderson, Brandon Davis ("Three Times" only)

Art Director: James Moslander

Producer: Bob Wendt

Production Assistant: Julie Gursha

Interactive, Social Strategy: Sarah Biedak

Strategic Planning: Andy Lindblade

Media, Communications Planning: Alex Barwick

Account Team: Cheryl Markley, Lani Reichenbach, Jourdan Merkow

Business Affairs: Dusty Slowik

Project Management: Jane Monaghan

Executive Creative Directors: Joe Staples, Mark Fitzloff

Head of Production: Ben Grylewicz

Production Company: Reset

Director: Andrew Douglas

Executive Producer: Jeff McDougall

Line Producer: Betsy Oliver

Director of Photography: Alwin Küchler

Editing Company: Joint

Editors: Matthew Hilber ("Japanese Quality," "German Performance"), Nicholas Davis ("Swedish Safety")

Assistant Editors: Dylan Sylwester, Kristy Faris

Post Producer: Leslie Carthy

Post Executive Producer: Patty Brebner

Visual Effects Company: Joint ("Japanese Quality" "German Performance – Autobahn" "German Performance – Three Times")

Flame Artist: Katrina Salicrup

Smoke Artist: Zack Jacobs

Visual Effects Producer: Alex Thiesen

Titles, Graphics: Brad Simon, W+K Studio Designer; Peiter Hergert, W+K Motion Designer

Visual Effects ("Swedish Safety" only)

Flame Artists: Simon Brewster, Andrew Eksner, Sarah Marikar, Katrina Salicrup

Smoke Artist: Zack Jacobs

Titles, Graphics: Brad Simon, W+K Studio Designer; Peiter Hergert W+K Motion Designer

Song: "The Fire" – The Roots

Mix Company: Joint

Mixer: Noah Woodburn

Producer: Alex Thiesen

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