Actors, comedians and musicians lending their star power to a brand’s high-profile (and damn pricey) TV spot during the Super Bowl has become a time-honored annual tradition. This year’s line-up of celebs in commercials includes Michael B. Jordan, Will Ferrell, Matthew McConaughey, John Travolta, and Jason Alexander. But they’re all about to be overshadowed by who Jeep were able to get to front their new ad: none other than music legend and American icon, Bruce Springsteen.
‘The Middle’ is a two-minute film which follows Springsteen as he makes the journey to a chapel in Kansas, reputed to symbolize the precise geographical center of the United States. The ad directly references the political division and upheaval that have characterized the nation’s recent history, and in voiceover, Springsteen speaks about the country’s need for unity.
“It’s no secret the middle has been a hard place to get to lately,” he says. “Between red and blue, between servant and citizen, between our freedom and our fear. Now fear has never been the best of who we are. And as for freedom, it’s not the property of just the fortunate few; it belongs to us all. Whoever you are, wherever you’re from, it’s what connects us, and we need that connection. We need the middle.”
“We just have to remember the very soil we stand on is common ground,” he continues. “So we can get there. We can make it to the mountaintop, through the desert, and we will cross this divide.”
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Despite remaining a culturally relevant figure for his decades-spanning career, Springsteen has largely avoided the celebrity-brand relationship until now, declining offers to star in lucrative ad campaigns like many of his fellow rock stars. In fact, according to Variety, his decision to appear in the Jeep commercial was a relatively last-minute one, meaning the entire production was filmed less than a month ago. The singer was reportedly drawn to the collaboration due to its positive social message.
“[Jeep’s chief marketing officer] Olivier François and I have been discussing ideas for the last 10 years,” said Jon Landau, Springsteen’s manager. “When he showed us the outline for ‘The Middle,’ our immediate reaction was, ‘Let’s do it.'”
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