Beyond the pigskin, Sunday night’s Super Bowl broadcast was packed with another of America’s favorite pastimes — commercials.
Many of these high-priced advertisements were playful, as usual. But a few of the ads had a tone of subliminal political messaging, many viewers found. Most notable was the two-minute Chrysler ad featuring Clint Eastwood titled, “It’s Halftime in America.”
More than any other national ad last night, this short film-like piece has seemed to stir emotions on both sides of the political aisle. The commercial was a favorite here in ‘The War Room’ — but others had a different take.
Reuters reported this morning that “in the spot that did not mention a Chrysler car or truck” it “intoned that the automaker’s successful turnaround could be used as an example for the United States as it struggles with high unemployment and a slow economic growth rate.”
The total cost of the two-minute Super Bowl spot is unknown, but “with 30-second spots selling for $3.5 million, the commercial cost Chrysler an estimated $14 million,” according to the National Journal.
No matter what the price, the ad was certainly effective, as viewers of all ages blasted twitter, Facebook, and the blogosphere with emotional responses.
“I had tears streaming down my cheeks,” said Terry Megee, president of Megee Motors in Delaware told Detroit News. “It’s a powerful message.”
Senior strategist David Axelrod tweeted:
Powerful spot. Did Clint shoot that, or just narrate it?
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) February 6, 2012
While former White House aide Bill Burton tweeted:
— Bill Burton (@billburton716) February 6, 2012
And the National Journal writes “At the very least, the ad and Eastwood’s powerful narration make it much, much more difficult for Republican front-runner Mitt Romney to keep pushing his line that Washington should have let the automakers go into bankruptcy.”
Founder of The Left Call, David Sutton wrote “I don’t believe it was intended as a political ad of course, but after seeing the ad it felt like a huge endorsement of President Obama.”
Huffington Post called out a potential Eastwood hypocrisy, noting “as recently as last year, Eastwood was criticizing President Obama’s 2009 bailout of the auto industry, which set the stage for Chrysler’s resurgence.” Eastwood’s narration of the ad shocked and surprised viewers on the right, who had generally known him to act in support of the Republican party.
Karl Rove made the morning rounds on Fox News, fuming about the Chrysler Super Bowl ad, stating that despite his respect for Eastwood and his work, he was “frankly, offended by it.”
Gualberto Ranieri, chief spokesman for Marchionne and for Chrysler, declined to comment on the notion that the advertisement was a thank-you gift to the Obama administration.
“The advertisement,” Ranieri said. “speaks for itself.”