Commentary: How To Change MLB's All Star Game Broadcasts Forever


Photo and video courtesy of Chrysler Group LLC

No, I am not going back to do The Heirloom again…(besides, the manuscript is not done and I am still not happy with Commissioner Bud Selig and the notion that Joe Buck and/or Tim McCarver should be awarded the Ford Frick Award at the Baseball Hall of Fame during my lifetime)

Since this is an automotive website, the focus of this piece is an ad that will run during Tuesday's Major League Baseball All Star Game. Not just any advert, mind you.

You see, Chrysler's marketing and advertising teams decided to change it up for the 2013 Dodge Dart. First, see the advert below…

What you saw is a new way to looking at the development of the most important vehicle in the company's recent history. The brand's agency, Wieden+Kennedy of Portland, Oregon, took the approach of using an "educational video" called "How to Change Cars Forever" on how to develop a car such as the Dart. They used a rapid-cut sequence that shows "do's" and "don'ts" from initial development to the finished product. Along the way, you got a brief shot of the New England Patriots' Tom Brady with a self-effacing line adding to the humor and wit of the commercial.

To sell a car these days, you have to have some form of wit. Volkswagen was effective in this by using a child in a Darth Vader mask using the "force" on everything he could – including the Passat. The Dart advert's cool wit provides self-effacing laughs throughout tying in a somewhat masked commentary of the automotive industry today. The commercial "instructs" us to consider an industry where, instead of committees, why not go out and build this car!

Frankly, this ad works on a higher level. It shows that Dodge is a brand that wants to be cool as reflected in its current and future lineup. The Dart is used to enforce the refocusing of the brand's image, which will use a new tag line "New Rules." This is an extension of the ideals that began in 2009 when Chrysler's brands were rebooted under Fiat's guidance.

The big question is whether this ad will be effective. I believe so – not because of the experience I had with the Dart or with Chrysler in general. If I stepped away from both aspects, it is viewed as another chapter of the compact car's journey from the idea of being a corporate savior to the reality currently sitting in the showroom as we speak. The message, the visuals and the witty payoff add context to the car and its story.

Why show this on FOX's telecast of the All Star Game? It is the same approach Chrysler did with the 200's "Born of Fire" and the corporate "Halftime in America" spots during one of the biggest televised spectacles on Earth – the Super Bowl. The ASG still yields a high audience for the game's telecast, despite many arguments about its relevance and other points of contention amongst baseball fans. If a fan gets completely bored waiting for a favorite all star to show up, one would hope the Dart ad would pop on the screen long enough to capture said jaded fan's attention span.

Though the advert runs 90 seconds for the All-Star Game, there will be 30- and 60-second versions of the advert that will run throughout the summer in the USA. Plenty of opportunities to capture the essence of Dodge's marketing push for the Dart.

My recommendation: When this comes up on your screen – put down the chips and leave the dip alone for 90 seconds. You might miss a good "instructional video" on how things should be in the auto industry.

Now, back to the game…

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