Bruce Springsteen plays and narrates a two-minute Super Bowl commercial called "The Middle" for Jeep.
Bruce Springsteen encourages Americans to meet "in the middle" during a Super Bowl LV ad for Jeep – his very first appearance in a commercial.
The legendary musician, known as "The Boss", plays the lead role and narrates the scenic two-minute commercial that contains far more Americana and scenery than jeeps. The only vehicles in the ad are a 1980 Jeep CJ-5 and a 1965 Willys Jeep CJ-5. Both models are predecessors of the brand's current Wrangler SUV.
During "The Middle" Springsteen speaks about a chapel in the center of the country, the US Center Chapel in Lebanon, Kansas. He uses the extremely small chapel as a basis to talk about the country that needs to meet "here in the middle" before the ad ends with "To the ReUnited States of America". This is followed by a website and logos for Jeep, which will celebrate its 80th anniversary in 2021.
"It's no secret … The middle has been difficult to reach lately. Between red and blue. Between servants and citizens. Between our freedom and our fear," says Springsteen. "Now fear was never the best of us. And as far as freedom is concerned, it is not only owned by the lucky few; it belongs to all of us."
The ad is reminiscent of previous Super Bowl ads from Olivier Francois, Marketing Director at Jeep's parent company Stellantis (formerly Fiat Chrysler). Specifically, a 2013 Super Bowl commercial called "Farmer," which featured the voice of legendary radio station Paul Harvey and another semi-political commercial with Clint Eastwood called "It's Halftime in America" in the 2012 saw actual vehicles.
"It is absolutely intended as a successor," Francois told CNBC. "This is our style. This is our language. This is our approach to Super Bowl. We really tried to get a little bit of what we did in these other commercials. This is really relevant and meaningful and something that is really being developed. " the moment."
Topicality and relevance are pillars of Francois' advertising style. He's also known for casting A-list celebrities who aren't usually associated with advertising in offbeat commercials. Previous Super Bowl ads included Detroit rapper Eminem, musician Bob Dylan, and a voice-over from Oprah Winfrey. Last year, Francois convinced elusive actor Bill Murray to repeat his role from the 1993 film "Groundhog Day" for a Super Bowl commercial.
A company spokeswoman declined to say how much the ad cost, including the fee for Springsteen, who is not known for appearing in ads but cast his voice on a commercial for Joe Biden last year.
Fiat Chrysler CMO Olivier Francois (left) with actor Bill Murray while filming the Jeep brand's 2020 Super Bowl commercial.
According to Francois, Springsteen was closely involved in creating the ad and worked closely with director Thom Zimny. He wrote and produced the original score for the commercial with another of his frequent collaborators, Ron Aniello.
"Olivier Francois and I have been talking about ideas for the past 10 years. When he showed us the design for 'The Middle', our immediate response was' Let 's do it'. "said Jon Landau, manager of Springsteen, in a statement. "Our goal was to do something surprising, relevant, immediate and artful. I think that's exactly what Bruce did with 'The Middle'."
The ad was created in collaboration with Michigan-based agency Doner. The spot was filmed in Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska over five days in late January.