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Bob Dylan vs. Clint Eastwood: Which Chrysler commercial was better?

By Holly R. Bogardus,

There was a lot of hype and continued buzz around this year's Chrysler Super Bowl ad, which featured none other than legend Bob Dylan. The singer follows in the footsteps of Clint Eastwood, who was featured in their 2012 Super Bowl commercial.

To be honest, the ads are shockingly similar. Both utilize a cool voice over, the magic of Detroit, as well as awe-inspiring visuals of America.

Clintwood appears much earlier in the 2012 commercial, however. This year’s ad took 47 seconds (about half the ad) before getting a glimpse of Dylan. With slogan “It’s halftime in America," the 2012 ad reflected the recession and had a slightly darker feel, focusing on the struggle. Portraying the core values of strength, unity, and endurance, Eastwood’s commercial fights. Detroit struggled and survived just like the rest of us. The last 20 seconds of the ad have Clintwood almost whispering to the audience, “It’s halftime America, and our second half’s about to begin." Bold and empowering, the commercial leaves you braced to defend.

Forbes notes that the “Imported from Detroit” campaign helped Chrysler revive its business. Not only did it land Chrysler back on the map, but it provided the means for Chrysler to actually help its parent by subsidizing Fiat in Europe with profits from automobile sales in the United States.

“There’s nothing more important to me than showing the world that there is nothing we owe — nothing — to German technology, to Japanese quality or to European flair and style, and this is a part of Chrysler’s mission that also was contained in the ‘Imported From Detroit’ tag line," Chrysler CMO Olivier Francois told Forbes.

With the success of the 2012 ad, it is no wonder Chrysler didn’t stray far from the formula this year. “Is there anything more American, than America?” was posed for 2014 by Chrysler. “You can’t duplicate cool” seems fitting, with icon Dylan enforcing it. While Eastwood’s ad focused on strength, Dylan’s is a piece of Pride. Taking on a lighter tone, the commercial was setup in essentially the same way as the 2012 commercial. A montage of inspiring “all American” images. Work, life, and Pride are all strongly portrayed in this year's Chrysler commercial.

Both ads pay their homage to the American factory worker, the American dream, and American craftsmanship, all while simultaneously instilling a swelling pride in America.

However, as Eastwood’s 2012 ad focused on the American ability to endure and look towards the future, Dylan’s 2014 ad was carrying strong undercurrents of nostalgia. From the highway 66 to the slightly bigoted “let Asia assemble your phone,” this year's Chrysler ad speaks towards the simple bliss and power of America (and an American made automobile).

According to the LA Times, this is but one of multiple commercials to feature Dylan in recent years. Others include a 2007 appearance for Cadillac, as well as a Victoria’s Secret commercial featuring “Love Sick."

While the similarities are blaring at first, there are so many differences within the ads that it’s hard to declare a winner. However, with its simple and optimistic tone, Dylan’s commercial for the Chrysler 200 seemed to be a more polished example of what Chrysler was aiming to hit back in 2012. Only time will tell of the ads impact.

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

 
 

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