The 200 and Its Ad: Chrysler's Two Super Bowl MVPs from 2011

Cars and the Superbowl go together like “sausage and grits,” or “corned beef and rye,” for those of you above the Mason-Dixon. In the entire history of the game, only two of its automotive ads have made it to the list of 10 best commercials, as determined by the powers-that-be in the marketing industry. One of those was broadcast during 2011’s showdown between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers. It centered on the 200, Chrysler’s entry-level sedan. At that time, Detroit was still reeling from the economic collapse of ’08.  As a member of the Big Three, the automaker had to show that, while it was down, it was by no means out. The ad itself featured rapper Eminem driving the vehicle, with a raspy-throated narrator talking about what the city had been through in recent times. But the real star was the sleek, stylish vehicle that the camera focused on during most of the two-minute, three-second commercial.  As it cruised the Motor City’s streets, one word that kept popping up in the narration was “luxury.” The suits at Chrysler were making it clear that this was one car that, like Cuban cigars or aged brandy, could rightly be considered one of the finer things in life. Was the ad just hype? Well, no. The 200 really is a hell of a car.  In both its 4 and 6-cylinder versions, it offers a smooth, powerful ride, thanks to a winning combination of Macpherson struts, multi-link rear suspension, and supportive yet ride-sensitive shocks. The interior reflects a classic approach to styling, with clean, simple, yet elegant controls, and nice touches like heated seats. The exterior conveys a sense of refined power, with aerodynamic curves accented by details such as LED lights around the headlamps. The MPGs aren’t that great. But, if you can afford a ride like this, then the cost of gas probably isn’t high on your list of worries. The Chrysler 200 was, and still is, a symbol of what Detroit can do when it tries.