WWBD: What Would Batman…Drive?

As a kid growing up in southeastern Queens, I’d often daydream as to what type of car I would drive once I learned how to drive. I knew that it would never be whatever my family’s car happened to be at the time. From the early 60’s through the mid-70’s, my parents counted on a succession of solidly built, extremely reliable and wholly uninspired automobiles to get us from various points A to points B and back again. No station wagons for us, for we were never quite that suburban.  We were a sedan clan – Ford Falcon,  Chevy Biscayne, Dodge Coronet 440, Buick Century. The Dodge was the only Chrysler model we ever owned and it was, on all counts, a piece of crap. Even so, the car that fueled my young passion for mobility was a Plymouth.  A Plymouth Duster, to be precise. Because on a cloudy day, from a distance, it sorta looked like the Batmobile.  Kinda.

A few years later, when I eventually went looking for the first car that I would call my own, I hunted down a couple of used Dusters.  They looked awesome, but, like their Dodge cousin, they burned oil like crazy.  I bought a Mustang. (Okay, so it was a Mustang II.)

Which is why I had to pause to fully take in Dale Buss’ recent Brandchannel article on Chrysler’s placement and related promotions tied to next month’s The Dark Knight Rises. Bruce Wayne in a Chrysler 300? Really? Isn’t that like James Bond in a Subaru?

Article appears below:

What Would Batman Have Driven in the Early Years? A Chrysler 300, Of Course

Posted by Dale Buss on June 18, 2012 12:52 PM

Chrysler is still a brand that seems to be comfortable with a dark and brooding urban presence, as exemplified in its “Imported From Detroit” campaign. But increasingly, the city it’s representing isn’t just Detroit. And now it’s Gotham City — as in the New York of fables in the Batman comic-book and movie series.

For the July 20th release of The Dark Knight Rises, the final piece of the Warner Bros. prequel trilogy, Chrysler has launched an “Imported from Gotham City” contest that allows fans to help create an original co-branded TV spot featuring Chrysler and Batman.

The Dark Knight Rises Director/Producer/Writer Christopher Nolan will select the winning ad, which will debut on TV to help promote the release of the film, and welcome the winner to the red carpet at the movie’s NYC premiere.

Contestants can use a “suite of assets” including Chrysler 300 car footage, clips from the film, and music stems from the trailer. They’ll have until June 29th to remix everything for their own stab at a 25-second TV commercial. Chrysler will reveal its own 30-second co-branded spot using the “Imported from Gotham City” tagline, which is set to debut Tuesday night on NBC while a 60-second spot will run on the brand’s YouTube channel.

“The 2012 Chrysler 300 featured in this marketing and advertising campaign was created intentionally to look as if it could be driven on the streets and fit in to the nightlife of Gotham City; it’s clearly a vehicle that stands out and makes one take notice,” stated Saad Chehab, President and CEO of the Chrysler Brand, in a press release.

Affiliating with The Dark Knight Rises is an interesting strategy for the Chrysler brand. It has been veering away from its 2011 Super Bowl Eminem-rapped “Imported from Detroit” positioning since its Clint Eastwood-narrated “Halftime in America” follow-up debuted during the 2012 Super Bowl. “Imported from Gotham City” seems to be an attempt to squeeze a little more life out of a mood that performed wonders for revitalizing the brand but is becoming, well, a bit tired.

But there’s nothing in the movie business like riding the Caped Crusader’s tails: The Batman movie franchise alone has been worth an estimated $2.6 billion worldwide since the 1989 release of Batman.

And the Chrysler 300 featured in the Dark Knight campaign indeed has the feel of something that Batman might have driven in his early years, before the Batmobile — an urban and slightly overstated vibe that, in the car’s comeback incarnation several years ago, bordered on “gangsta” styling.

Of course, when it comes to the Batman franchise, you can’t expect Chrysler to have the Gotham cityscape all to itself as the sure-to-be summer blockbuster looms. PepsiCo’s Mountain Dew brand already is cross-promoting the movie’s launch, including announcing a website with four different “environments” that tie into The Dark Knight Rises.