James Cooper & Noreen O'Leary

In the first six weeks after Chrysler launched its “Imported From Detroit” commercial on the Super Bowl, the Wieden + Kennedy spot generated nearly 10 million views on YouTube alone. Never mind that it was made by a Portland, Ore., agency for a company run by Italian Fiat executives who have been moving Chrysler’s manufacturing base to Mexico. The original two-minute commercial struck a patriotic chord, offering a defiant response to the city’s—and its eponymous industry’s—demonized image in popular media.

Last month, new Census data provided even more ammunition to the death of Detroit story. It showed that the city lost 25 percent of its population over the last decade, reducing it to the size it was in 1910, just after Henry Ford began selling his first Model T. Detroit inhabitants continue to flee a city of ravaged infrastructure and public services, bankrupt schools, abandoned buildings, and an industry that can no longer support them.

A city once emblematic of America’s industrial might will never return to its golden era of manufacturing. The formerly liberal electorate is turning to political outsiders–businessmen like Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and Republican Michigan Governor Rick Snyder—to turn a place built on union muscle into something more modern: businesses aligned with intellectual capital and services, technology, and entrepreneurial endeavors. But there’s still a small circle of nostalgists and optimists who believe in Detroit and in automobiles: the American adman.
There may not be a more co-dependent relationship in the marketing business. Advertising not only created the vast demand for new cars, but it also celebrated car culture. Having a car account was the sine qua non of agency status. You couldn’t be in the advertising big leagues without a major auto brand.

Arguably, as goes Detroit, so has gone the ad agency business–its former bravado and profitability laid low by Detroit’s long decline. A fair corollary might also be: If the executives of Detroit screwed up the business, their faithful admen retainers didn’t do the business any favors either.

But now it is not only a new set of auto execs trying to reinvent a new, albeit much smaller, American auto industry, but a new set of admen trying to reclaim, however wistfully, the Big Car Account, prompting the obvious question: Can you go home again?

Toby Barlow, the chief creative officer at Team Detroit, WPP’s joint venture of agencies dedicated to Ford, came to Detroit nearly five years ago after working in New York and San Francisco. He’s one of Detroit’s most vocal supporters–the industry and the city. He lives downtown in a Mies van der Rohe townhouse he bought for $100,000 and is part of a group of young entrepreneurs and artists moving into the city. He rides his bike on Detroit’s quiet, wide boulevards, the first to be built in America. He passes by urban ruins like the empty Michigan Central Depot–once the tallest rail station in the world–which remains majestic in its decay. There are blocks of once-neat rows of houses, structures that now stand burned or abandoned.

“As you ride, you get the feeling that this city was built for something great, that this was truly the American dream. Actually, this wasn’t a dream; it was the actuality of it. You could be an immigrant and get into the UAW and have a nice home and a place up north,” Barlow muses. “This city is a tragedy of success. The people who won left, and the people who were left behind are always the ones left behind. The decline in the perception of the automotive business and the decline of Detroit are inextricably connected.”

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Photograph by Danny Clinch

Esquire Magazine

Five musicians dressed in the season's best jackets and jeans, one great American city, and a simple challenge: write, perform, and record an original song inspired by our phrase.

Why Detroit: When we started thinking about where we would base our songwriting contest this year, we had nothing but options. Los Angeles, Austin, Asheville: All warm and welcoming and rich with jukebox cred, but none of them felt right, at least not right now. None of them reflected the social and economic forces transforming American life today, and none of them embodied the very things that inspire our favorite songs. Love. Loss. Redemption. Hope. Cars.

So we came to Detroit.

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Our Date for Friday, April 29th is about what is the Absolute Best in the Detroit Region!

This is the largest Metro Times party of the year to celebrate their Best of Detroit issue!

The party is invite only and all you can eat and drink from the area’s finest restaurants. 

Last year’s party still has people talking! Don’t be the one that misses out this year!


Winners receive two V.I.P passes to the Metro Times Best of Party at Soundboard at the Motor City Casino Friday, April 29th 2011.

Official After Party at Amnesia Ultra-Lounge at 11 pm.

You Must Sign Up As a Dater By Friday, April 22 2011!

Voting Begins at 9am Monday, April 25th!

Directions To Register:
1.  Go to http://pickmidate.com
2.  Click on the “Register To Date” Button
3.  Fill Out The Most Hilarious Dating Form Online
4.  Click “Submit”
“Dining in the D,” a locally-produced show featuring Detroit area restaurants known for exemplary food, service and atmosphere, will premiere on WTVS/Detroit Public Television/Channel 56 on Wednesday, May 4, at 7:30 p.m.

“After a four-episode run on CMNtv, we’re pleased to be picked up by WTVS to bring a positive show about the Detroit culinary community to a much wider audience,” says “Dining in the D” Executive Producer Michael Whitenack, of Troy.

“Dining in the D” will continue to highlight four area restaurants in each episode. Host and chef consultant, Tom Keshishian (known as Chef Tom to viewers), takes viewers from the front of the house to the kitchens and talks with owners and chefs about their restaurants, signature dishes and the interesting stories behind them.

“This has been my first foray in TV, and I’ve really enjoyed talking chef-to-chef with some of the truly remarkable talent in the Detroit area,” says Keshishian, of Walled Lake. “There are so many interesting stories about what goes on in these places, especially the food, that foodies can’t get anywhere else. Plus, the owners and chefs we’ve met have made conscious efforts to stay in the Detroit area and have found ways to stay viable and even open during the last few economically challenging years. We believe this is a show that WTVS viewers, and we hope many new viewers, will enjoy.

Restaurants featured on “Dining in the D” range from elegant, white tablecloth establishments to everyday family-friendly fare.

“Good food doesn’t necessarily mean expensive or exotic food; it’s available at a variety of price points, cuisines and dining styles,” Keshishian says.

WTVS has signed “Dining in the D” to a 10-episode contract. The first 30-minute episode will feature Berkley Bistro and Café in Berkley, Lily’s Seafood Grill & Brewery in Royal Oak, and Woodbridge Pub in Detroit.

Of the 39 restaurants to be featured in the series, 16 are in the City of Detroit.

 “We want to show there are great restaurants in Detroit that are worth the drive to visit,” Keshishian says. “It’s an area that needs the support of the surrounding community in order rebuild and prosper.”

Underwriting opportunities to support the show’s spring-summer season are available.

For more information on “Dining in the D,” visit the show’s website at http://dininginthed.com.
For information on underwriting, contact Whitenack at michaelw@dininginthed.com.