Imported from Detroit
The Situation: Chrysler introduced its new advertising tagline, “Imported from Detroit,” with a two-minute commercial during the 2011 Super Bowl. The commercial, titled “Born of Fire,” used Detroit rapper Eminem, his music, and gritty shots of the Motor City to mark the debut of Chrysler’s 200 model. The commercial was an overwhelming success for Chrysler at a time when the auto industry—and particularly Detroit—needed a boost. The media fell all over the commercial, it was the topic of water cooler conversations, and “Imported from Detroit” became part of the vernacular. But how could Chrysler make the most of this good fortune? Expectations were that the commercial would create buzz for Chrysler, but the buzz quickly became a roar. How could Chrysler keep it going?
The Solution: Chrysler turned to Helm, its branded merchandise and fulfillment partner. Helm quickly understood the opportunity Chrysler wanted to capitalize on, and because of the well-established relationship between the two companies, knew exactly how to maximize it. Working with input from Wieden & Kennedy, Chrysler’s advertising agency, Helm designed an Imported from Detroit T-shirt, generated the T-shirt inventory, and uploaded the item for purchase on the automaker’s branded merchandise website—all in less than a week.
The Results: In a word, unbelievable. Helm helped Chrysler turn its ad into a better-than-expected marketing tactic. The shirts were an instant hit. “Imported from Detroit” was hot and the Helm-operated Chrysler brand website was blazing. Orders poured in at the rate of one per minute. The entire inventory was sold out at one point, but Helm quickly replenished the supply, and there was no significant slowdown. Helm also handled the entire fulfillment process. What could have been a difficult situation because of the huge amount of orders was easily managed. Orders were received, processed and shipped smoothly and efficiently and customers were satisfied. Soon after the initial T-shirt offering, Helm expanded the Imported from Detroit clothing line to include sweatshirts, tank tops, and hats. But Chrysler and Helm weren’t through. During the 2012 Super Bowl, Chrysler reintroduced the Imported from Detroit tagline with a special two-minute commercial called “Halftime in America” that featured Clint Eastwood. Again demand surged for Chrysler merchandise, and again Helm responded. This time with an expanded apparel line of Imported from Detroit shirts, caps, outerwear, and more. In addition, bags, automotive accessories, posters, and a range of personal items were made available. Almost two years after its introduction, “Imported from Detroit” is still going strong, and 2013 could make it even stronger.