Doing a bit of Monday morning quarter-backing here… one of the biggest buzz-making ads during yesterday’s Super Bowl was not Harley-Davidson.
If you recall, Harley-Davidson invented the down-on-our-luck tribute to a broken economy which morphs into a defiant, we’re-back rallying cry so screw the man and just ride anthem.
Now it seems that Chrysler has out Harley’d Harley! With none other than another broken thing out of Detroit, Eminem, who happens to be staging a massive comeback and worked magic to charge us all up with the ‘We are all Detroit’ mantra. The longest commercial in Super Bowl history was the 2 minute video costing ~$9M for the spot. It was captivating to say the least and I for one came away with a higher appreciation for the Chrysler brand.
At first blush, it’s a bit hard to imagine just how any musician could have much impact on the product offerings of Harley-Davidson, whose primary work involves fabricating and stamping out thousands of sheet-metal parts into motorcycles. Yet, if H-D could somehow find a really authentic — ‘brand ambassador’ — to help create more of an emotional connection between motorcyclists and H-D’s products, they might could come up with a way to reposition the brand and appeal to a younger generation.
It wouldn’t be the first for a large corporation to hire a brand ambassador. Puffy, has cologne and Kanye has shoes. Chrysler now has ‘Slim Shady’. Even the technology ‘old skool’ microprocessor company Intel has hired Will.i.am (who was The Black Eyed Peas front-man at the Super Bowl half-time show) and is now wearing an Intel badge with signature shades and blinged-out shoes while evangelizing semi-conductor goodness.
All that’s left to debate is whether the advertisers were having an off year or the general crappiness of the half-time show was indicative of a greater decline in culture. Witnesses to the Black Eyed Peas. I’d like to say they were terrible, unwatchable, the end of the world as we know it. But they were not.
They were a representation of America… And we have to give the NFL credit, for imparting the kiss of death upon musical acts. If you perform at the Super Bowl, you’re now over. I will say this — The Black Eyed Peas were better than the Who and guitarist Pete Townshend with his low-hanging gut. The Who were just sad. Like Old Timers Day at Yankee Stadium. Once upon a time they were great, now it’s just creepy.
But, to end on a more positive note, the recession is officially over … or at least, that’s the message from Super Bowl advertisers this year. It seems we’ve moved out of the depression of the recession and the wounded manhood in the face of reduced income and unemployment back into post-adolescent guy humor themes.
Time to take note Harley.
Photo courtesy of Dallas Photo Works