10 December 2009

Our SUVs Bring Freedom!

I'm not sure what to think about this new ad campaign by Chrysler. I mean, I guess it's great that the company is taking interest in the plight of the Burmese, but the ad itself seems incredibly tacky and more geared toward burnishing the brand than actually promoting the social cause. It seems like there would be better ways for the corporation to support the Burmese people, like contributing to the US Campaign for Burma, than making awkward commercials like this one.

This week Chrysler -- now owned by Italian auto-making giant Fiat -- launched a high-minded image campaign calling for the unconditional release of Suu Kyi, who is not exactly a household name in the U.S. The 30-second spot is a re-creation of a Lancia spot by Italian ad house Armando Testa. In the spot, we see Nobel laureates -- Lech Walesa, Mikhail Gorbachev -- arriving for the 10th Summit of Peace Prize laureates in Berlin.

"You can build walls that separate people from people," the voice-over intones. "But it is impossible to build a wall that separates a man from his freedom." Now we see a white Chrysler 300 tooling past the wall (Is it prom night in Berlin?). A soprano sings a set of minor-key scales. "Because freedom always finds a path to build peace." The car bursts through a wall, and the exploding bricks are transformed into white doves.

"This film is dedicated to Aung San Suu Kyi, still prisoner in Burma." The spot fades out on a poster with Suu Kyi's face and the appeal, "Free now unconditionally."

The end-card slogan: "Chrysler: for a World Without Walls."

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