09 February 2011

I Care About Detroit

There are many reasons why one cares about a city. Why you care about it's problems, its people, and, indeed, its very future. Is it friendly, warm, hospitable? And are there good job opportunities, educational facilities and a cultural center? Are you proud to call it your hometown? When you come right down to it, I venture to say you'll all agree to a resounding "Yes" when you're talking about Detroit.   -   Smokey Robinson, 1967

One of my earliest posts on this blog shared the 60s promotional film Detroit: City on the Move with you all. That post has received a fair bit of traffic from search engines over the months, I think because people are clearly fascinated by the city's decline, and ruin porn exposés can be found all over the internet.

During the Super Bowl the other night, Chrysler's "Imported from Detroit" ad featuring Eminem garnered a lot of positive buzz, even from people who don't really like cars or Eminem, for offering what was likely the first positive media view of the city in decades. You may have missed this, though. Last summer, iconic French bootmaker Palladium released a film featuring, uh, Johnny Knoxville showcasing some of the more positive things going on in Motown. It features interviews with local artists & entrpreneurs, as well as musicians like Martha Reeves, Wayne Kramer of the MC5, techno pioneer Carl Craig and members of the Dirtbombs, and a soundtrack that draws on the city's long and storied musical history. Hipster street style meets urbanism, and it's surprisingly effective stuff on both levels.

Part one:

Part two:

Part three:

There's more on the brand's "explorations" page, with pieces on abandoned buildings in New York, Cold War relics in Berlin and London pirate radio. Excellent marketing, in my opinion. (It worked on me.)

PS: I can state with 99.997% certainty that this is the only time Eminem or Johnny Knoxville will be mentioned on this blog.

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