Jeep’s Super Bowl commercial made a plea to end division in the U.S. by highlighting a chapel that is the geographical middle point of the nation’s lower 48 states.
The commercial starred rock 'n' roll legend Bruce Springsteen, who narrated the somber two-minute ad, which departed from the comical tone of many of the game’s other commercials.
Titled “The Middle,” the Jeep promotion shows Springsteen on the grounds of the U.S. Center Chapel in Lebanon, Kansas. The chapel is described as a place that "never closes" and where "all are welcomed."
While he is narrating, the camera zooms in on the interior of the chapel, highlighting an American flag in the shape of the U.S. with a large wooden cross down the center of the map.
“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 as the ad shows different clips of him, the landscape, and also the outside of the church.
"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 ... Our light has always found its way through the darkness."
The commercial ends with an outline of the U.S. and says, “To the ReUnited States of America.”
“It’s a bit downbeat, it’s very quiet, it’s a prayer,” Olivier Francois, global chief marketing officer at Stellantis NV, parent company of the Jeep and Chrysler brands, told The Wall Street Journal. “I think the whole thing is Bruce’s prayer for an America reunited that finds its common ground again.”
Francois said Jeep considered doing a lighthearted ad but felt this “prayer” would be more memorable.
“I’m not shooting for funny or serious,” Francois continued. “I don’t care. I’m shooting for a lasting message.”
The original score of the commercial was written and produced by Springsteen and Ron Aniello.
Francois revealed that he had been pursuing the musician to star in a commercial for more than a decade before this.
“It’s a match made in heaven,” Francois said, noting that Springsteen embodies the rugged American nature that is the Jeep brand.