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The media has become a dominant force in society, influencing affairs, and opinions. Labor and production are portrayed as a symbolic and powerful industry, without touching upon the challenges and conditions that may arise. Media has become disassociated from the working class, failing to highlight its true diversity, economic struggles, and misrepresentation in recent years.
2012 commercial is created by Chrysler as an advertisement for its 300-performance sedan. It is set to the theme of the famous film The Dark Knight, comparing the car to the famous automobile of the superhero. It was created by Chrysler’s marketing chief Olivier Francois (Bowman, 2012). The advertisement title includes “imported from Gotham,” a play on words from Chrysler’s slogan “Imported from Detroit” (Chrysler, 2012).
The commercial demonstrates the car being put together in a fictionalized factory setting, using highly technical machinery, slick automobile parts, and an array of workers. They are working systematically, each fulfilling a specific task in the process. The workers are dressed in uniforms, wearing appropriate safety gear. Conditions in the factory can be described as exceptionally clean, with appropriate lighting and safety in place.
Seemingly this advertisement is not associated with labor and union. It is a commercial for a new car and film. However, like many other car advertisements, it demonstrates the process of automobile production on the assembly line. The rigorous and highly precise system which utilizes the latest technology. Workers are highly skilled and actively engaged in their duties. Chrysler, as a corporation, takes pride in its roots. The “Imported from Detroit” tagline is a throwback to the industrial roots of that metropolitan city, which was built on the concept of steel and automobile production. In numerous other commercials, Chrysler has highlighted the importance of factory workers, their sacrifice, and grit historically to build the industry.
However, the reality is that the manufacturing industry is far from imperfect. The economy is ultimately failing the workers by creating a few acceptable jobs and offering low wages for the highly specialized or extremely grueling jobs.
Most jobs in the factory have been socially defined as low-level work (Aeppel, 2016). This is partially due to media and film, which commonly portrays industrial workers as low-class and poverty-stricken individuals that have no other place to go. Verzuh (2001) states, “media bias against unions has made workers invisible” (p. 37). In the context of this commercial, workers have little role in the assembly of the vehicle. Most of the workers are doing remedial tasks while not actively participating in the assembly itself, which is mostly automated.
Technology leads to another issue that ground-floor workers are becoming obsolete. There are little support systems or protections in place for jobs. However, when workers attempt to defend their rights through unions, this leads to negative coverage as well. Organized labor and trade unions have low popularity, and there is an inherent lack of understanding from the public about workers’ rights and issues.
Verzuh (2001) emphasizes that “workers and their issues seldom make the news” (p.38). The advertisement shows almost a utopian setting with workers that one would never assume have dissatisfactions about working for Chrysler. Thus, when union protests begin, and strikes discontinue some sort of service or production, the overall public has no empathy for workers. Rather, it leads to anger directed at workers for interfering with their need for a service or good.
Aeppel, T. (2016). Special Report: U.S. manufacturing economy fails employers and workers. Reuters. Web.
Bowman, Z. (2012). Chrysler sponsors The Dark Knight Rises, goes imported from Gotham City. Web.
Chrysler. (2012). The Chrysler 300 – Official imported from Gotham City — The Dark Knight Rises. Web.
Verzuh, R. (2001). The real story: How workers disappeared from mainstream media. Our Times.