Chrysler Super Bowl ad stirs political pot

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.


3 Comments on “Chrysler Super Bowl ad stirs political pot”

  1. Personally I think this commercial was the most absorbing and controversial commercial of the Super Bowl, running for two minutes.I think that the majority of Americans took it at surface value and saw it as a positive message about our nation’s ability to bounce back economically from even the toughest times. In that sense, I think it was a powerful commercial for evoking a sense of patriotism (not talking about Patriots fans) from viewers.
    However, when you did read more in to it there is irony in the word choice of “pulling together” and “coming together” because Congress never actually agreed to the bailouts for Detroit. Bush and Obama administrations acted on their own by diverting funds to Detroit auto companies giving some $80 billion to them and are expected to never get $23 billion back. At face value I think the commercial had great intentions of sending an optimistic message about the strength of America, but there are certainly some underlying meanings behind it that are cause for debate.

  2. sutlive2 says:

    I agree with Daniel Sullivan that the Chrysler ad entitled Halftime in America that ended in Imported from Detroit is a powerful ad of hope This ad and the Chrysler Eminem Super Bowl Commercial-Imported from Detroit, exemplify the successful hardworking members of Detroit. The Chrysler Eminem Super Bowl Commercial-Imported from Detroit is showing America parts of Detroit that have rebounded from the downturn. The non-stereotypical Detroit that is not usually covered in the news. It shows the strength, culture and history of Detroit.
    Halftime in America seems to be an ad mostly for Chrysler but it does seem to be stating or suggesting that America and America’s people can rebound from any challenges that America has faced or will come across in the future.

    I missed reading the questions at the end of the article. I enjoy seeing how readers interpret the articles that they are reviewing.
    Thank you,

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