Rooting for the underdog

The Oscar nominated film The King's Speech and Chrysler's Super Bowl spot with rapper Eminem touting the new 200 sedan have a lot more in common than you might think.

One is the story of an underdog, discarded by the nation as a joke, that through grit and courage proves stereotypes wrong and shows it has the right stuff. The other is, well, essentially the same.

They both successfully tap into the very human desire to see a flawed hero overcome obstacles.

Ford Motor Co. capitalized on this same emotion in 2009 when it asked dealers to run ads expressing their pride in Ford's refusal to take federal loans. Ford subtly positioned itself as the scrappy underdog fighting to lift itself up without outside help.

It resonated. Consumers respected Ford's refusal of government loans.

Chrysler's ad agency, Wieden+Kennedy, is similarly positioning Chrysler as the underdog you want to root for.

In the Super Bowl spot, various Detroit scenes flash as a narrator pays tribute to the tenacious spirit of the city and its determined auto industry workforce. Eminem caps the ad by noting that "This is the Motor City, and this is what we do."

The spot has been viewed more than 5 million times on www.YouTube.com.

It still sends a chill up my spine and touches something inside my soul.

I want to see if the scrappy underdog will triumph.

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