So is there 'anything more American than America'? A look at Chrysler's Super Bowl ad
"Is there anything more American than America?"
That was the opening line of this year's Chrysler ad featuring Bob Dylan during last night's Super Bowl.
People reacted quickly to the head-scratching question on Twitter:
"Is there anything more American than America?" WAIT. THIS IS A TRICK QUESTION, RIGHT?
— Michael Sippey (@sippey) February 3, 2014
"Is there anything more American than 'America'?" Did Bob Dylan or Ron Burgundy write this commercial??? #SuperBowI
— Ryan McGee (@TVMcGee) February 3, 2014
"Is there anything more American than America?" is our generation's "Could God microwave a burrito so hot even He Himself could not eat it?"
— Dylan Matthews (@dylanmatt) February 3, 2014
But this ad was in need of an editor.
Here's another line in the ad that could have used some help:
"So let Germany brew your beer. Let Switzerland make your watch."
Wait a minute.
Michigan is home to some of the best craft breweries. And some pretty darn nice watches are made right in Detroit. (Just ask Michigan Radio's Lester Graham about Shinola watches.)
More tweets followed:
Let Germany brew your beer? No thanks, I'll let Michigan do that, too.
— David Bardallis (@allthebrews) February 3, 2014
— Craftie Beer App (@CraftieBeerApp) February 3, 2014
Dylan, for Chrysler says "let Switzerland build your watch". Detroit based #Shinola might have something to say about that!
— John Burns (@jbkazoo) February 3, 2014
So strike the first line, and find some other examples for goods manufactured overseas, and the ad would have worked for most.
But even with those little problems, Dylan's line "We will build your car" brings the ad home:
Allen Lengel of Deadline Detroit quotes a high school classmate's reaction to the ad. His friend said the ad fit Bob Dylan's character:
"He's always been for blue collar, for the underdog, for the down and out. He's always liked the unadorned authentic. Most of all, he's always had deep empathy for the cast out among us. Detroit is a down and out, cast-out city these days, but its contributions to real American culture -- not the high culture of NYC -- from cars and line workers to Joe Louis, Aretha and Eminem -- are what Dylan digs about Detroit. Same reason he revisited Highway 61, visited all the old unknown great blues singers before they died and sang about the Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll. The people panning this ad display a condescension Dylan has never displayed."