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DJ Jeep Super Bowl Ad Enlists Bruce Springsteen to Unite America

· 02/07/2021 00:01
By Alexandra Bruell

Jeep's Super Bowl commercial will star Bruce Springsteen narrating a somber plea to end division in the U.S., in contrast to the lighter tone struck by many of the game's other ads.

The two-minute commercial, titled "The Middle," finds Mr. Springsteen on the grounds of the U.S. Center Chapel in Lebanon, Kan., which he describes as the geographical middle point of the nation's lower 48 states.

The camera pauses on images inside the chapel, including an American flag in the shape of the U.S. and partially covered by a cross, as well as the landscape outside.

"It's no secret, the middle has been a hard place to get to lately, between red and blue, between servant and citizen, between our freedom and our fear," Mr. Springsteen says in a voice-over.

The last frame shows the outline of the U.S. with the phrase: "To the ReUnited States of America."

"It's a bit downbeat, it's very quiet, it's a prayer," said Olivier Francois, global chief marketing officer at Stellantis NV, parent company of the Jeep and Chrysler brands. "I think the whole thing is Bruce's prayer for an America reunited that finds its common ground again."

Advertisers in Sunday's Super Bowl will mostly avoid invoking the country's political divisions, social-justice movements and continuing struggles with Covid-19, hoping to keep viewers' associations with their brands positive.

Jeep had considered doing a lighthearted ad, but Mr. Francois ultimately chose a concept that would be the most memorable, he said. The ad mirrors the serious tone of past Super Bowl spots from sibling brand Chrysler, such as "Imported From Detroit" starring Eminem and the "It's Halftime in America" ad with Clint Eastwood.

"I'm not shooting for funny or serious," Mr. Francois said. "I don't care. I'm shooting for a lasting message."

Mr. Springsteen wrote and produced the original score with collaborator Ron Aniello, the company said. The Detroit-based ad agency Doner pitched the concept to Mr. Francois, who took it to Mr. Springsteen's team through producer Jon Landau.

Mr. Francois previously spent more than a decade trying to cast Mr. Springsteen in ads, but Mr. Springsteen had resisted, said Mr. Francois. After seeing the latest concept from his agency, he tried one more time, he said.

Mr. Francois added that Mr. Springsteen embodies the rugged and American nature of the Jeep brand. "It's a match made in heaven," he said.

Write to Alexandra Bruell at alexandra.bruell@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 07, 2021 00:01 ET (05:01 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.