Chrysler Super Bowl ad stirs political potPosted: February 7, 2012
by Cy Brown
At halftime of Super Bowl XLVI, Chrysler Group unveiled the newest ad in their “Imported From Detroit” marketing campaign to much political buzz.
The ad, entitled “Halftime in America,” featured actor/director Clint Eastwood speaking on the strength and resilience of Americans over images of classic Americana, specifically Detroit’s auto factories. The ad aired in front of an estimated viewing audience of 111.3 million people, a record for most viewers of a single television program in U.S. history. Considering its length of over 2 minutes and placement as the first spot after the second quarter, traditionally one of the most expensive, and viewed, spots, the ad could easily run much higher than the average of $3.5 million for a 30-second ad.
Republicans see the ad as a backing of the auto industry bailouts, and thus an endorsement of President Obama’s policies. Former Bush Senior Adviser Karl Rove went as far as to say he was “offended by it.” Democratic consultant and President Obama’s Senior Adviser David Axelrod referred to the ad as a “Powerful spot” via his twitter account.
Though the ad may be seen as a promotional success, many have criticized the spot for creating another division between conservatives and liberals, discrediting it’s message of togetherness. LA Times journalist James Oliphant criticized the timing of the ad. “The ad for Chrysler was intended to be a call for people of all ideological stripes to come together for the common good,” said Oliphant. “But coming as it did at the dawn of a presidential election year and touching upon the highly controversial government bailout of automakers, it didn’t take long for that ‘fog, division, discord and blame’ to assert itself.” Eastwood, a noted fiscal conservative, denied any political message through a representative Monday.