Another Super Bowl, another PR coup for Wieden+Kennedy. By overwhelming consensus, the ad agency's "Halftime in America" ad for Chrysler—which we've confirmed was produced by the Portland office—was the best commercial during the game. It's probably the most Wieden+Kennedy thing Wieden+Kennedy has ever done, and the most moving thing Clint Eastwood has appeared in since he growled that song he wrote himself at the end of Gran Torino.
Suddenly, a whole lot makes sense: Wieden+Kennedy has long added gravitas to its commercials by hiring first-rate directors (including Errol Morris and Alejandro González Iñárritu), and this Chrysler spot is buoyed by the poetically rusting machinery Gordon Green made a trademark in George Washington and All the Real Girls (yes, my favorite movie of the last decade).
But considering that admirers of Gordon Green have been bemoaning his long, mostly mirthless foray into Apatow stoner comedies, it's fairly amazing (and/or disturbing) that his return to affecting heartland imagery comes in a Chrysler commercial.
Good day's work for Wieden+Kennedy, though. In a year, will we be saying the Portland ad agency saved the careers of Barack Obama and David Gordon Green?
UPDATE, 4:17 pm: There's another local connection. Eastwood's halftime speech was written in part by Lents poet Matthew Dickman, the Tin House poetry editor.
Let's go to the tape: