“It’s Halftime in America”.
Apparently this was the most popular, and controversial, commercial in the Superbowl. It follows somewhat the tradition of a film created before last year’s Superbowl which was re-purposed for this year’s — which prodded the Steelers and the Packers as “coming out of the tradition that built his country” in a maudlin sentimental grouping of images for American myth-making … this year we saw the same video, but shortened, and with an obligatory reference to this year’s teams tossed in, a bit awkwardly because it’s New York and New Englad — Patriots and Giants…
Clint Eastwood’s ad…
Chrysler Group LLC’s U.S. dealers swung into action on Wednesday to rebut complaints that the auto maker’s emotional Super Bowl ad provided support to President Obama’s re-election campaign.
“We have no doubt that this ad had no political agenda of any kind but rather [was] a statement of fact and hope for the future for all of us and America,” the company’s National Dealer Council said following an emergency meeting. […]
Oliver Francois, Chrysler’s chief marketing officer and architect of the ad, said he finds the controversy perplexing. “It was designed to deliver emotions and I don’t think emotions have a party. There was zero political message. It was meant more of a rally cry to get together and what makes us strong is our collective power and not our individual disagreements.”
At issue is whether the ad’s intent was to sell cars or to help President Barack Obama in this fall’s presidential campaign. His administration provided bailout funding and ushered Chrysler and rival General Motors Co. through a quick bankruptcy protection process in 2009.
The problem is that the automaker is telling a narrative to stitch itself into the “American fabric”, and the narrative happens to dovetail with public policy which is associated with the Obama Administration as against a Republican opposition (and, for that matter, opposition from the likes of Michael Moore, who would be one to point out that the ad white-washed some Union protester sign out of some snippets in the ad). It’s politicized because the company is now politicized. Mind you, though, to show that they’re tough Republicans and not wimpy liberals…
“To say it was a political favor is bull hockey,” said Valdosta, Ga., dealer Cass Burch, who owns two Chrysler stores. “That comment makes me want to fistfight somebody. Here I was overwhelmed with emotion and pride…It is bush league for them to take something that is so heroic and so patriotic about our company and to make it political.”
In the spot actor Clint Eastwood intones: “Seems that we’ve have lost our hearts at times. The fog of division, discord and blame, made it hard to see what lies ahead but after those trials we all rallied around what was right and acted as one. Because that is what we do. We find a way through tough times and if we can’t find a way then we’ll make one. All that matters now is what’s ahead. How do we come from behind? How do we come together and how do we win?”
At this point we’re reminded of Obama’s Call for “ending divisions” political posturing — “This is not a collection of blue states and red states and etc.” But really, this where your marketing of soap dove-tails with your marketing of politicians.
The following day, the advertisement became fodder for talk shows after Republican commentator Karl Rove told Fox News he was offended by the commercial. He described it as “a sign of what happens when you have Chicago-style politics and the President of the United States and his political minions are in essence using our tax dollars to buy corporate advertising.”
Wow. Karl Rove, huh?