I hope your like your Super Bowl with a side of politics

It’s bad enough to watch bailed-out company after bailed-out company spend millions and millions of dollars for the most expensive TV advertising slots of the year. There were all those Chevy (GM) slots, as well as at least two for General Electric, whose financial arm survived 2008 in part because it received a federal guarantee of its debt valued at some $139 billion. At least GE didn’t cash in on that guarantee; GM is still part-owned by Uncle Sam and owes taxpayers some $25 billion according to a recent inspector general’s report. GM’s former financing arm, now known as Ally Financial, remains majority-owned by the federal government and owes about $12 billion.

But the halftime Chrysler commercial starring Clint Eastwood, describing America as being in its own “halftime,” was just overtly politicized. After all, what else could “halftime” have meant, in the year 2012, than halfway through the eight years Barack Obama would be president if re-elected this fall? I’m fairly certain it wasn’t a prediction that the country will break up circa 2248 A.D.

Chrysler of course has a right to political speech. But it would be nice if the company wouldn’t be so brazen about its leanings while still owing the entire country — left, right and center — billions of dollars.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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127 comments Add your comment

ragnar danneskjold

February 6th, 2012
11:55 am

I glad we have time to rally – certainly we are much worse off as we approach the end of the first half. Put an early end to the leftist game.

Will Jones

February 6th, 2012
11:58 am

Pro Detroit, Pro America … these are now single party concepts?

Also, you forgot to mention that Chrysler (the company that paid for the ad) repaid all taxpayer subsidies last year.

Kyle Wingfield

February 6th, 2012
12:06 pm

Will: Check out the last link in the OP. They repaid the taxpayer money with … other taxpayer money.

ByteMe

February 6th, 2012
12:07 pm

Yeah, you know, because Clint is a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat.

Oh, wait, no he’s not.

As for these companies spending money on ads… you hate free enterprise now? They got loans, they need to stay in business to repay the loans, but they aren’t allowed to do marketing? Shame on you.

You saw what you wanted to see, Kyle. Halftime could also mean that the game’s not over no matter how much the nabobs of negativity want to proclaim it to be.

Junior Samples

February 6th, 2012
12:07 pm

Corporations are people, remember Kyle?

Kyle Wingfield

February 6th, 2012
12:08 pm

As for the “single party concepts” part: The way those “concepts” were phrased sounded an awful lot to me like the way the president phrased it in his State of the Union address — America wins when it comes together … and it needs to come together behind what he wants to do.

But I’m open to hearing other interpretations.

Kyle Wingfield

February 6th, 2012
12:09 pm

Junior: Like I said, it’s Chrysler’s right to do that.

scrappy

February 6th, 2012
12:09 pm

You fail to take into account marketing principles in this analysis. To earn profit you must sell, to sell you must market & advertise. Yes the commercials are expensive, but you also get millions of viewers, an almost guarntee that those viewers will actually be watching the commercials, and a high liklihood that they will be talked about for days.

ByteMe

February 6th, 2012
12:11 pm

The way those “concepts” were phrased sounded an awful lot to me like the way the president phrased it in his State of the Union address

You know that commercials are usually “in the can” long before they air, right? I think you’re seeing gobblins under your bed next.

Junior Samples

February 6th, 2012
12:13 pm

And Clint’s a Republican, so your “halftime” interpretation is half baked. Look before you leap.

Aquagirl

February 6th, 2012
12:18 pm

After all, what else could “halftime” have meant, in the year 2012, than halfway through the eight years Barack Obama would be president if re-elected this fall?

Hmmm…Obama took office January 2009. It’s now 2012. That makes just over three years. How is that “half” of 8? I mean, I knew you guys aren’t much for science and all, but now you’re spazzing basic arithmetic?

Believe it or not, not everything is a political metaphor about Barack Obama. Obsessed much?

Kyle Wingfield

February 6th, 2012
12:19 pm

Junior: Eastwood has backed candidates from both parties.

DannyX

February 6th, 2012
12:19 pm

Bailouts? Why not call them “incentives”? You know like the state of Georgia does when they land foreign car manufacturing plants with millions in tax breaks and other goodies.

Is Delta Airlines still advertising? Yes, of course they are. The state continues to give Delta millions in tax breaks every year.

Obama gave GM and Chrysler “incentives” to stay in business, those incentives will surely pay for themselves down the road. Small businesses were helped. Unemployed auto workers are being recalled. Plants are reopening.

Great job Obama! Four more years.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

February 6th, 2012
12:19 pm

I loved the commercial and didn’t read into it anything that you did, Kyle.

Didn’t even know it was Clint until they showed his face, however. His voice has really deteriorated over the past few years.

Sarah Coulter

February 6th, 2012
12:20 pm

Yeah, I seriously doubt that Clint Eastwood would be talking about the current president in a positive light. If anything, he is talking about it is halftime as a break and the real team will be in November.

Trust, he is a man of conviction. He isn’t going to do anything that goes against his grain. He has nothing to prove.

“Well, opinions are like a$$holes. Everybody has one.”

ByteMe

February 6th, 2012
12:25 pm

Ti: he’s 81 or so. Once you get past 80, it’s almost like the warranty expires.

arnold

February 6th, 2012
12:27 pm

SC @ 12:20 pm

“Well, opinions are like a$$holes. Everybody has one.” And they all stink.

Aquagirl

February 6th, 2012
12:28 pm

His voice has really deteriorated over the past few years.

And whatever you do, don’t look at his main pic on wikipedia. Yikes!

TBone

February 6th, 2012
12:31 pm

I thought half time was all about making making adjustments from things that are not working to things that will work based on our resources. The metaphor works as long as we change our present course this November.

Jefferson

February 6th, 2012
12:31 pm

You are no different, when it comes to grits and groceries.

Junior Samples

February 6th, 2012
12:33 pm

So I guess we heard it here first, Clint Eastwood is supporting President Obama in 2012. Do you have any CNN interviews coming up? You shouldn’t contain your prowess on this local rag, jump for the brass ring!

Kyle Wingfield

February 6th, 2012
12:35 pm

Looks like I’m not the only one who saw it this way. Most of the other coverage I’ve sen of the ad at least acknowledges the possibility that the message had the same undertones I picked up on.

If Chrysler wanted an apolitical ad, this would have been my advice: Don’t go for a game analogy in an election year. Yes, obviously, it was aired during a football game. But the same message could have been written without those references — Detroit is on the rise, the rest of the country is/can be on the rise, too — and it would have been much less open to criticism about politicization.

Kyle Wingfield

February 6th, 2012
12:37 pm

TBone: And if the ad had hinted at changing quarterbacks, it would have been equally in poor taste.

Jefferson

February 6th, 2012
12:38 pm

I wonder why they didn’t seek your advice ?

scrappy

February 6th, 2012
12:42 pm

“Don’t go for a game analogy in an election year.”

uuuuhhhh – cause it aired during a game (at halftime!), using a game analogy is not a good idea?
Yeah, that makes sense….

I think you / cons are grasping at straws here, is everything you hear now Pro-Obama?

Do what??????

February 6th, 2012
12:43 pm

I guess this would be something controversial if people actually bought those crappy cars.

Peadawg

February 6th, 2012
12:44 pm

So you would have GM and the other car companies go under? How many more thousands of people would be unemployed b/c of that?

:roll:

Do what??????

February 6th, 2012
12:44 pm

“But the halftime Chrysler commercial starring Clint Eastwood, describing America as being in its own “halftime,” was just overtly politicized. ”

And if Americans want to be like Detroit, by all means keep voting Democrat.

Quandrella

February 6th, 2012
12:45 pm

“After all, what else could “halftime” have meant, in the year 2012, than halfway through the eight years Barack Obama would be president if re-elected this fall?”

Hmm, I didn’t make that association at all. That’s a bit of a stretch.

Anyway I thought the Chrysler commercial was better than the baby launched with the slingshot to grab a bag of Doritos. We’ll hear from the child welfare activists on that one.

Kyle Wingfield

February 6th, 2012
12:48 pm

More agreement from Michael Moore, Matt Yglesias, Dan Pfeiffer, and many others both left and right.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

February 6th, 2012
12:51 pm

I will say that Doritos had the best commercials. Both the baby being launched and the dog burying the cat (always a laugh riot to me) and buying off his owner were fantastic.

The VW one with the dog was also good, especially the Star Wars bar scene at the end where the alien thought the dog was funnier than Darth Vader, and the Doritos and the Eastwood ads were about it. Otherwise, the commercials overall were pretty flat.

Kyle Wingfield

February 6th, 2012
12:53 pm

At the very least, it would appear Chrysler didn’t get its wish if it wanted an apolitical ad. A much-talked-about ad? I guess that’s a yes.

Worth the price of a Super Bowl ad ($3.5 million is what I’ve seen)? Maybe. But a lot of companies manage to sell goods/services and make profits without advertising during the Super Bowl.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

February 6th, 2012
12:53 pm

Kyle, I just think people are being overly interpretive about secondary meanings in this political environment. I’m as political as they come, but I didn’t read anything into that ad at all.

TBone

February 6th, 2012
12:53 pm

I think the use of the auto industry as the symbol of manufacturing in this country was a poor choice. To get back in the “game” the unions and over-regulation has to go. That ain’t gonna happen.

Aquagirl

February 6th, 2012
12:53 pm

Looks like I’m not the only one who saw it this way.

You’re citing a tweet?

Of course some people will see a hidden analogy in there, we discuss everything about the Super Bowl endlessly. And anything about the economy can be interpreted politically. I’m sure some of those people could cite your blog, creating an endless feedback loop of confirmation. But this ran at HALFTIME of a football game, for god’s sake.

Why would Chrysler avoid references to a football game in an ad designed for a football game? What the hell are they supposed to reference, synchronized swimming?

Kyle Wingfield

February 6th, 2012
12:56 pm

Peadawg: We’ve discussed this numerous times on this blog over the past couple of years. Short answer: A traditional bankruptcy that didn’t favor union members over bondholders wouldn’t have meant the demise of the companies.

ByteMe

February 6th, 2012
12:59 pm

So the political commenterati class saw something political in an ad. Stop the presses!!!

Seriously, you don’t want politics with your Super Bowl ads, then you need to whack this REPUBLICAN across the head:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/06/pete-hoekstra-ad-china-michigan_n_1256912.html

The 30-second ad … opens with the sound of a gong and shows the Asian woman riding a bike on a narrow path lined by rice paddies.

Stopping her bike, the woman smiles into the camera and says, “Thank you, Michigan Senator Debbie Spenditnow. Debbie spends so much American money. You borrow more and more from us. Your economy get very weak. Ours get very good. We take your jobs. Thank you, Debbie Spenditnow.”

Only ran in Michigan.

ByteMe

February 6th, 2012
1:00 pm

Oh, and ran during the Super Bowl. Some people won’t get that connection on first reading.

Kyle Wingfield

February 6th, 2012
1:01 pm

Aquagirl: “You’re citing a tweet?”

Is that supposed to be derisive? This isn’t 2007 … Twitter is where a lot of people, pundits and otherwise, voice their initial reactions to debates, speeches and, yes, Super Bowl commercials. And an initial reaction is probably the best way to gauge the effect of something like a Super Bowl commercial. First impressions and all that.

Do football references make sense for a lot of Super Bowl ads? Sure. But no one thinks the football references by, say, the Coca-Cola polar bears were an attempt to say something more broadly about society and the economy. If you’re running a 2-minute spot that amounts to “morning in America,” you ought to be super-sensitive to anything that could make your message seem political. If you’re really trying to be apolitical, that is.

Junior Samples

February 6th, 2012
1:02 pm

Fine… While I too thought “Why is Chrysler spending this kind of cash for a commercial when they still owe us for the bailout?”, I certainly didn’t think it was politicized with a Democratic slant from Clint, who backed McCain last time around.

I don’t believe Chrysler had any aspirations to politicize this, but everyone else needs to. If you’re a hammer…

ByteMe

February 6th, 2012
1:03 pm

Short answer: A traditional bankruptcy that didn’t favor union members over bondholders wouldn’t have meant the demise of the companies.

Longer answer: no one stepped up to be the “debtor in possession” that would fund the company during bankruptcy. So company goes belly up unless government steps up. And then government can make the rules that Kyle doesn’t like. Let me call a Waaahhmbulance.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

February 6th, 2012
1:04 pm

The difference, ByteMe, is that the Hoekstra ad was designed to be nothing but a political ad. Nothing hidden in that message one bit. The argument being made here is the hidden message, if you will, in the Eastwood ad (which, again, I don’t believe was there at all).

I have no problem with the Hoekstra ad at all, nor of when it aired. Apples and oranges.

Kyle Wingfield

February 6th, 2012
1:06 pm

ByteMe: Like Chrysler, Hoekstra is free to decide if a Super Bowl ad is the best way to spend his resources.

That said, it was a pretty bad ad that might well backfire on him.

C Ahl

February 6th, 2012
1:10 pm

Kyle,

I get you are political wonk or junky, it’s your job here. You gotta lighten up man.

I can’t stand democrats either but your sucking all the fun out of even the little things. Take your rant on this ad that compares us to the Roman Empire more than it does to a State of the Union address. I didn’t watch the State of the Union because I knew it would be a rehash. So maybe that’s why I had no association with Obama. Even if I did, I still don’t associate Clint with Obama. He’s kind the next guy down on the ladder from the Duke.

Half the trouble with people is we see too much in everything to figure out we need to move forward. I think it’s the worst in News and Media industry. This is mainly due to the fact that the Media and News do not produce any tangible products, ideas and stories, yes that is their forte. Will we lose work or money over not hearing, seeing or reading a story or report? No not really, so try to realize that it’s always political.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

February 6th, 2012
1:12 pm

If you play the Chrysler ad backwards it says, “I buried Paul”. (obscure musical conspiracy reference) :D

kelly

February 6th, 2012
1:13 pm

Awfully sensitive today, Kyle. By the way, did you happen to see the Hoekstra ad? Which was more offensive to you? I think you’re worried 2012 may be slipping away.

Richard

February 6th, 2012
1:14 pm

With how bad the commercials were last night, I had stopped paying attention to them by the time Clint Eastwood made his appearance.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

February 6th, 2012
1:14 pm

And while we’re still on a Super Bowl theme, I’ve never been a fan of Madonna, and her halftime show didn’t do anything to make me one.

Peadawg

February 6th, 2012
1:17 pm

“Chrysler of course has a right to political speech. ” – As do Chevy, Audi, Ford, Honda, etc. etc.

Quit complaining.

It honestly sounds like you’re reaching a bit and trying to inject politics onto funny Superbowl commercials.

Aquagirl

February 6th, 2012
1:17 pm

Is that supposed to be derisive?

Yes, because it’s A tweet, singular. You can go tweet-mining and find most anything out there.

Byte said it best at 12:59, the political commenterati class can obsess endlessly about this. Holy cow. Detroit, unlike Coke, has taken quite a beatdown since the economic collapse. An ad about polar bears and cutesy crap would look dumb and ignorant of reality. How many people know Coke is based in Atlanta? Detroit, on the other hand, is irrevocably tied to GM and cars. They can’t talk about a resurgence without invoking the current state of America.

Seriously, I realize you live, breath, and sleep politics and must write columns, but the rest of us don’t. I’ll leave it at that.