May 21st, 2011 22:08 EST
Imported from Detroit: Remembering Humble Beginnings
A black Chrysler 300 rolls down a street in a famous city. A popular rap song plays while the car passes by bars, kids, and houses. A voiceover explains the importance of remembering humble beginnings. The car moves on into a suburb, finally coming to a stop in front of a house. An emerging icon steps out of the car. Who is it? It`s not Eminem.
It`s Ndamukong Suh, the Detroit Lions` current superstar and spokesman. He steps out of the car and walks up to his house, embracing his mother. The song playing is "G Code" by The Geto Boys. The commercial ends, but not before the words Imported from Detroit flash on the screen. But the city in the commercial is not Detroit. It is Portland, Oregon, Suh`s hometown.
A similar commercial stars Dr. Dre driving around Los Angeles, past clubs with dolled up women standing outside. The voiceover in that particular commercial goes on about taking action instead of waiting for events to happen. The music playing is one of Dr. Dre`s latest beats. Again, at the end of the commercial the words Imported from Detroit flash on the screen. Although this can cause confusion as to why commercials that take place in other cities mention Detroit, it`s actually good for Detroit.
Most car commercials don`t have slogans reminding people that these cars were made in Detroit, or Tokyo, or Berlin. Lately though, it seems as if all anyone cares about is how bad Detroit can look on the TV screen. People seem to really enjoy seeing images of run-down buildings and homeless people, so much so that there is now a term for it: disaster porn. It`s at the point now where people across America and the world think that Detroit is the worst city to live in and there is no hope for it.
If anyone saw the first Chrysler 300 commercial to use the Imported from Detroit "slogan", they would notice it featured Eminem driving around Detroit. It showed him driving by places in Detroit that make it look good and promising, such as the Spirit of Detroit, the Fist of Joe Louis, and the Fox Theater.
These are the kinds of images Detroit should be projecting. Instead of showing the world how rundown it is, the city should be showing people that while it`s going through a rough time, there is still hope that it will pull through. Detroit and the surrounding cities are full of college students who have the ability to change the world. It has athletes like Suh, Steve Yzerman, and Justin Verlander showing how the city can humble its people.
Detroit needs to start making commercials that feature footage of Joe Louis. Louis was resilient and never really gave up, and if people saw commercials like that then they`d feel better about living in Detroit and feel better about visiting Michigan in general.
Wherever I go in life, I will proudly say that I am imported from Detroit. And wherever other people my age go, they should also proudly say they`re imported from Detroit. We might even prove to be sweeter than some imported wines. Let`s start rebuilding!