Bruce Springsteen and Babies Star in Pandemic-Year Super Bowl Ads

Jeep persuaded Bruce Springsteen to appear in his first commercial ever, a two-minute call for national unity that was scheduled to run in the fourth quarter.

Jeep kicks off Game Day by reminding us we are stronger than the obstacles in our way, and invites us to remember all the ways we are connected as Americans. A timeless CJ-5 takes us on a journey to the U.S. Center Chapel in Kansas in search of common ground. We have spanned deserts and climbed the highest peaks. We can cross this divide. #JeepTheMiddle
The commercial, available before the game on YouTube, was shot partly at a chapel in Lebanon, Kan. — the geographical midpoint of the contiguous United States. “We just have to remember the very soil we stand on is common ground,” Mr. Springsteen says in the ad.

Until now, the 71-year-old rocker had stubbornly resisted offers to endorse products or allow his songs to be used in commercials, a stance that has set him apart from Bob Dylan and most pop stars of today.

Jeep got the Boss to say yes after a long pursuit. Olivier François, the chief marketing officer for Jeep’s parent company, Stellantis, said he was “naïve” when he first approached Jon Landau, Mr. Springsteen’s longtime manager, a decade ago.

“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,” Mr. François said.

He said he would “respectfully pitch” Mr. Landau over “many drinks and dinners” in the following years, knowing that Mr. Springsteen’s participation in an ad was “obviously, a very long shot.”

When Mr. François received the script for an early version of the Super Bowl ad, he sent it to Mr. Landau. Within 24 hours, he had a virtual handshake deal with Mr. Springsteen, who joins Bill Murray, the star of last year’s Super Bowl commercial from the same company, as a Jeep pitchman.

In a statement, Mr. Landau said the Boss had created the ad with his own creative team. “Bruce made the film exactly as he wanted to, with no interference at all from Jeep,” he said.

Companies paid roughly $5.5 million for each 30-second slot this year, an expensive marketing gamble.
Mr. François said that, because of the high cost, “the only way to make a return on investment is to make the ad last.”

“If it’s going to be forgotten in a year or so, it probably is not worth the money,” he said.
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