The commercial opens with a sleek silver car whisking along the Autobahn at night with a German voice-over touting the car’s superior engineering. Then (surprise!) we take an exit for Detroit and the voice switches to English because “performance is now an American thing.”
Apparently, it’s a “Seattle thing.”
Filmed at the end of September, the commercial features the Interstate 90 tunnels and the Alaskan Way Viaduct.
But doesn’t one tunnel or elevated roadway look like any other? Astute viewers posting on Reddit noticed details that gave away the Seattle location — the Edgewater Hotel’s red neon E makes a fleeting appearance, and the Great Wheel is reflected on the side of the shiny car. The Detroit freeway exit sign is the only part of the commercial filmed in Michigan.
It’s not the first time another city has filled in for Detroit. Chrysler’s 2012 “It’s halftime in America” commercial, featuring Clint Eastwood’s distinctive voice, was filmed in New Orleans, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Wieden+Kennedy, the advertising giant based in Portland, filmed the Germany/Detroit/Seattle ad as well as three others in the campaign.
Yet to be released, “Swedish Safety” uses footage from San Francisco and Seattle to mirror “the fjords and sea typical of the Swedish landscape,” according to a Chrysler press release from Oct. 27.
No word yet on whether the Renton Ikea parking lot will make a guest appearance.