Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Chrysler - Clint Eastwood - Halftime in America

This is widely considered to be the best commercial from Sunday's Super Bowl. Two years running, now, Chrysler has delivered inspiring ads that are less about their cars and more about the people of Detroit and the nation we live in (last year it was the Eminem commercial).

Clint Eastwood was the perfect spokesman for this spot - he embodies the rugged masculine strength Chrysler wanted to project, as well as the sensitivity he has become known for as a film director. 

For the most part, corporations are all about the money, but even in that pursuit, they can sometimes offer a glimpse of "our better angels." This two minute ad cost them about $14 million just for the airtime, not counting the production and the fees to the ad agency (commercials cost an average of $3.5 million for a 30-second spot this year).

Chrysler - Clint Eastwood - Super Bowl Commercial

As reported in the LA Times, two of the three writers credited with writing that ad are part of literary world, a poet and fiction writer. Interesting.
[O]f the three people credited as copywriters on the powerful Chrysler advertisement above, the one featuring Clint Eastwood that aired for the first time during Sunday's Super Bowl, one is poet Matthew Dickman.

Dickman -- whose twin brother, Michael, is also a poet -- is the poetry editor of Tin House magazine. He's got one collection, "All-American Poem," and has been published by many fine magazines, including Narrative and the New Yorker. He's won a number of prestigious awards. But none of those things makes him a shoo-in for a Chrysler Super Bowl ad.

The advertising firm that created the spot is Wieden & Kennedy, the Portland, Ore., firm known for its seminal Nike ads. Dickman, too, is based in Portland.

Maybe that explains it. But it wouldn't explain one of Dickman's co-authors, Smith Henderson. I suspect he is the short story writer Smith Henderson, a recipient of the 2011 PEN American Center Emerging Writers award.

Maybe more literary writers should give advertising a try.

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