It’s rare to find inspirational calls to action in television commercials. Yet, the Chrysler ads that began with Eminem in Super Bowl 2011 “Imported from Detroit” have pretty consistently turned us on, even before we took the plunge and moved our company to this fine city. We won’t get into all the psychology that makes these so great, for the company, for Detroit, and for a greater concept of America; an interesting conversation to be sure. But we do want to share these four bits of wisdom and explain why they are so important to us.
Three of these are what the industry calls “features” ads. They want to explain what differentiates one product from another. It’s super hard to make stuff like good windows and anti-lock brakes interesting to everyday people. These, however, use powerful,even wise metaphors. The last one listed is what ad folks call a “brand ad.” It is supposed to communicate the feelings behind a product. We expect these to be inspiring; most times they try to make us cry. Chrysler has chosen instead to recognize our very real challenges give us some sound advice and a little kick of motivation to put it into action. These 30-60 second gems actually help us get out of bed some mornings. Building a company is hard, deeply personal, behind the scenes, work. These ads remind us why we do it.
Kudos to Wieden & Kennedy, the agency that led the creative development.
Keep the sound of doubt outside, managing all the Advice
We like constructive criticism. We like open dialog with different and even conflicting opinions. There are all kinds of good ideas and some not so good. When you lead a project you have to make space for all the ideas from all the people who care about what’s being created. You have to consider them thoughtfully and with fairness. And then you sometimes have to roll up the window, make some quiet, and follow your own heart and experience to get on the right path.
What we do when no one is looking, our Character
Starting a big project or company depends on good PR. Every day we are selling ourselves –what we believe and what we want to see in the world. We find ourselves telling the same story over and over again. When it comes down to it, while important, what really matters is not what we talk about, but what we do. Character is defined by action. We hope ours lives up to our expectations of generosity, openness, honesty, and love.
The first and most important step to accomplishing something is to Show Up
We often have to do things we don’t want to do. We labor the details, stay up late with boring, must complete tasks, and set up meetings with powerful people who frankly scare the heck out of us. We look at our schedule and think: There is no way I can do all this and we fret about how things will turn out. But right now, and always, we know that we don’t have to worry about the outcome. We just need to make sure we arrive to meet the task head on. The rest will take care of itself.
You may fail, but you may conquer; See it through
This was the first Ad we found ourselves clinging to for inspiration. It’s the second part of the equation that begins with Showing Up. We’ve embarked on an ambitious journey. It’s no longer just about an individual dream we had last summer. Partnerships develop and real people with real hopes of their own are now involved. The time for flicking off the switch and going home has passed and we need to finish what we started. It’s a terrific, and at times overwhelming responsibility. But if we don’t worry about the end and instead worry about just doing our very best as we go along, we know that whatever happens will be good not just for us, but for everyone involved.
Thanks Chrysler, and thanks more to those of you who have decided to come along for the ride. We are making something beautiful. Together.