Jeep’s new Bruce Springsteen and a 1980 CJ-5 is typical of automaker’s . That is to say, it’s ambitious and moving, with a soaring message that’s much more about who we are as a nation and as people than it is about the business of selling cars and trucks., “The Middle,” starring
Shot over five days in late January, the ad features heartland rocker Springsteen in his first commercial appearance of his nearly 60-year career. The ad is a two-minute heartstring-tugger that urges a bitterly divided America to reconcile with itself, a call to action for the ReUnited States of America. The ad centers on a church in Lebanon, Kansas, which sits at the geographic middle of the Lower 48. “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,” Springsteen says. That The Boss’ voiceover reads like the lyrics from one of his songs is no coincidence. (formerly Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) says Springsteen was intimately involved with the writing and scoring of the spot.
Simultaneously celebrating Jeep’s 80th anniversary, the long-form ad only shows wisps of the brand’s iconic vehicles — mostly the ’80 CT-5, but also an early 1965 version that appears in the background. The ad never so much as surfaces a single newor . Not showing a new model is an unusual deviation from the typical new-car-ad formula, but the automaker has driven this rare route before, and The Middle is arguably all the more powerful for it.
Once again masterminded by Olivier Francois, the automaker’s chief marketing officer, the ad isn’t dissimilar in its patriotic ambition and borderline-political gravity tofeaturing Clint Eastwood, and , which featured narration from the late radio personality Paul Harvey. By contrast, last year’s hit ad , which saw Bill Murray reprising his iconic movie performance, was a bit lightweight but no less watchable.
The Middle will air in its full, two-minute form during the Super Bowl itself, as well as live on online thereafter, but you can watch it right here, right now.