Bruce Springsteen has steered clear of product endorsements throughout his decades-long career, but that streak came to a close during Sunday’s Super Bowl LV when The Boss starred in a Jeep ad with a unifying message for a nation divided.
The Thom Zimny-directed TV spot, shot last month over a period of five days in Kansas, Colorado, and Nebraska, speaks to the divisive zeitgeist in modern day America by focusing on a chapel that sits at the exact middle-point of the continental United States.
Springsteen has famously shied away from using both his likeness and his music for advertisements in the past. “I wasn’t aware of the one thing that all of America was totally aware of, which is that Bruce Springsteen doesn’t do commercials,” said Olivier François, Jeep parent company Stellanis‘ global chief marketing officer, to The New York Times.
“Olivier François and I have been discussing ideas for the last 10 years,” Springsteen manager Jon Landau said in a statement per Rolling Stone, “and when he showed us the outline for ‘The Middle,’ our immediate reaction was, ‘Let’s do it.’” Added Landau to the Times, “Bruce made the film exactly as he wanted to, with no interference at all from Jeep.”
Employing cinematography reminiscent of Springsteen’s 2019 Western Stars concert film and a narrative tone that evokes comparisons to Clint Eastwood‘s oft-parodied 2012 Super Bowl ad for Chrysler, Springsteen seeks to find some common ground for all Americans in the ad.
“There’s a chapel in Kansas standing on the exact center of the lower forty-eight,” Springsteen says via voice-over. “It never closes. All are more than welcome to come meet here, in the middle. 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. 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. So we can get there. We can make it to the mountaintop, through the desert, and we will cross this divide. Our light has always found its way through the darkness, and there’s hope on the road up ahead.”
The ad ends with a signature of sorts as the words “To the ReUnited States of America” are emblazoned across the screen. Watch “The Middle,” the Jeep Super Bowl ad featuring Bruce Springsteen below.
Bruce Springsteen – Jeep Super Bowl Commercial – “The Middle”
Bruce Springsteen was one of many high profile musicians to take part in the Presidential Inauguration festivities last month. Watch him perform “Land of Hopes and Dreams” from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial as part of the Inauguration proceedings here.