Jeep pulls Bruce Springsteen Super Bowl ad after news of his DWI arrest
NOTE: This story has been updated with a comment from Jeep, 4th paragraph.
News breaking today that Bruce Springsteen was arrested for DWI last fall threatens to derail Jeep’s marketing push that makes use of the rock icon.
The reports of the Nov. 14 arrest come just three days after Springsteen appeared in a two-minute Super Bowl ad for the brand, called “The Middle,” in which he called for unity in the deeply divided country.
The brand shot the commercial in late January, and it remained active on Jeep's YouTube channel until early afternoon on Wednesday but was later pulled. The video had gotten more than 37 million views.
Asked if Jeep knew about the DWI before the ad shoot, a representative issues the following statement: “It would be inappropriate for us to comment on the details of a matter we have only read about and we cannot substantiate. But it’s also right that we pause our Big Game commercial until the actual facts can be established. Its message of community and unity is as relevant as ever. As is the message that drinking and driving can never be condoned.”
TMZ first broke the news of the DWI that has now been picked up by various outlets that are all pointing out that the star appeared in the Jeep ad. The New York Post reported that Springsteen was arrested Nov. 14 at Gateway National Recreation Area in Sandy Hook, New Jersey and charged with DWI, reckless driving and consuming alcohol in a closed area. The report cites a spokesperson for the National Park Service who noted that “Springsteen was cooperative throughout the process.”
Jeep luring Springsteen for the ad was a big get, considering he has notoriously shunned starring in commercials. The ad has gotten mixed reviews, with some critics taking issue with the use of a Christian cross in the ad as not speaking to all audiences. Other people have questioned the viability of people finding a middle ground in the current political environment. That critique prompted this defense from Springsteen’s guitarist Stevie Van Zandt.
Other commentators were more complimentary.
“Springsteen and Jeep aren’t telling you to agree on everything or to forget past wrongs. Yes, they’re asking you to buy cars and albums—but more importantly, they're asking you to put the good of you, the country and your fellow Americans first,” Henry A. Brechter, managing editor of AllSides.com—a website that promoted “civil discourse”—wrote in column for USA Today.