Detroit, MI (written by Brent Snavely/Detroit Free Press) -- To borrow a phrase, we now know "the rest of the story" when it comes to Eminem's appearance in Chrysler's two-minute "Imported from Detroit" Super Bowl commercial.
The 2011 commercial, which included the rap star, might not have happened without a late-night drive through a Michigan snowstorm.
Olivier Francois, Chrysler's chief marketing officer, was told that Eminem had turned down many offers to appear in commercials. Chrysler had permission to use the star's music, but Francois felt the commercial lacked an emotional connection without Eminem personally appearing.
"I was this close to surrender ... I could not even get to" Eminem, Francois said in Detroit on Monday. "So at some point, I was leaving the office at 10 p.m., through a snowstorm ... and really kind of desperate."
Making matters worse, it was only a few weeks before the Super Bowl, and the commercial still wasn't done. Most companies are finished creating their commercials months before the big game.
Francois said he had an address and a name: Joel Martin.
Martin is a veteran Detroit music industry figure and the owner of 54 Sound studio, where Eminem created his best-known work, including "The Slim Shady LP" and "The Marshall Mathers LP." He has also managed Eminem's song publishing, including licensing for projects.
The address took Francois to a nondescript studio in Ferndale, Mich. Francois had heard that Martin was known to work late hours remixing music. Martin did not know that Francois was on his way.
"I remember going through the snow .... knocking at the door, and there was this guy," Francois said.
Eminem wasn't there, Francois said, but the late-night visit went well.
"I didn't connect with him that night ... But after that night, everything happened very smoothly."
Francois told the story for the first time publicly Monday in Detroit as Chrysler unveiled its new marketing campaign for the 2013 Ram pickup because he was driving a Ram the night of the snowstorm.
The commercial, which portrayed both Chrysler and Detroit as underdog, comeback stories, was immediately embraced nationwide and helped recast the brand's image.
"If it was not for the Ram truck, I swear, I would not have found the address ... the place is really not obvious."