by Meridith Levinson

Clint Eastwood Super Bowl Ad: It’s Halftime, America

Feb 06, 20122 mins
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Is the U.S. economy in the midst of its own existential halftime, as Chrysler's Super Bowl ad suggests? If so, can American compete in its second half?

If you watched Super Bowl XLVI last night and stayed in front of your TV through the half time commercials, you probably saw the arresting ad from Chrysler, “Halftime in America,” featuring the  unmistakable voice and penetrating eyes of Clint Eastwood.

If you missed the ad, you can check it out here:

I admit to being a sucker for commercials designed to inspire, and this one pulled hard at my gut.

What first struck me (besides Eastwood’s rugged timbre) was the graceful reference to the millions of Americans who are unemployed, who are agonizing through their halftime, trying to chart a course toward work and relevance. Eastwood’s voiceover puts it much more swiftly than I ever could:

“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.”

The ad builds to a message about a country mired in its own existential halftime, spurred by economic uncertainty and upheaval. Eastwood intones: “All that matters now is what’s ahead. How do we come from behind? How do we come together? And how do we win?”

The ad ends with Eastwood’s characteristic sneer: “Yeah, it’s halftime, America. And our second half is about to begin.”

The ad is powerful. I realize that Chrysler (and Ford and GM) have all contributed to America’s economic and unemployment problems over the years, and I admit that I’m not going to buy a Jeep or a Dodge anytime soon. But I give Chrysler credit for confronting America’s economic and political problems in a Super Bowl commercial that taps the indomitable entrepreneurial spirit that makes so many of us proud to wave the Red, White and Blue.

I hope my big screen hero is right about America’s future. What do you think of the ad? Do you think the United States can win in its second half?

(Well do ya, punk?)