Legendary actor and director Clint Eastwood has made a career playing tough, no-nonsense characters of few words that inhabit less-than-perfect worlds. But it was his inspirational words in a Super Bowl ad by automaker Chrysler, titled “It’s Halftime in America - delivered in his iconic raspy voice - that has caused a bit of a stir.
In the ad, Eastwood’s voiceover uses the metaphor of halftime locker room strategy at a football game to draw parallels to America’s current economic climate. “People are out of work and they’re hurting. And they’re all wondering what they’re going to do to make a comeback. And we’re all scared, because this isn’t a game,” Eastwood states in the commercial, which has become a screen upon which many viewers have projected their own political agendas.
Many Democrats view the ad as an Obama campaign spot, noting similar themes to the President’s recent State of the Union address. Republicans are critical of the ad, citing a tacit approval of Obama’s bailout of the auto industry. The 81-year old actor insists that he isn’t taking sides. “It was meant to be a message just about job growth and the spirit of America,” Eastwood said in a statement. The actor has long been associated with the Republican Party, although he added "I am not supporting any politician at this time” in his statement.
Was Chrysler’s Super Bowl ad a political statement or a patriotic rallying cry? Is it possible to remain apolitical in today’s charged social atmosphere?
Sasha Strauss, managing director, Innovation Protocol, a brand strategy firm, and adjunct professor at USC’s Annenberg School of Communication and USC’s Marshall School of Business