Super Bowl Commercials: Bruce Springsteen Appears in One for First Time



Babies and Bruce. Shaggy and Winona.After a difficult year of a pandemic-related deaths, political strife and social unrest, companies who have spent roughly $5.5 million for 30 seconds of ad space will try to grab the attention of an expected 100 million TV viewers on Super Bowl Sunday with commercials promoting hope and nostalgia.Jeep persuaded Bruce Springsteen to appear in his first commercial ever. Until now, the 71-year-old rocker has stubbornly resisted offers to endorse products or allow his songs to be used in commercials, a refusal that has set him apart from peers of his generation, like Bob Dylan and The Who, and most pop stars of today.Jeep got the Boss to say yes after a 10-year pursuit. The ad, already up on YouTube and scheduled for broadcast during the game’s fourth quarter, has Springsteen delivering a monologue that calls for national unity.The commercial 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.This year’s Super Bowl ads will also provide reminders of the days long before protective face masks. “It Wasn’t Me,” the 2000 earworm from the rapper Shaggy, is featured in a Cheetos commercial with Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, the stars of “That 70s Show,” and Shaggy himself.Cadillac invokes the 1990 Tim Burton film “Edward Scissorhands” with Timothée Chalamet in the role of Edgar, the son of the titular character. His mother is played by a star of the original film, Winona Ryder, the Gen X avatar who made a comeback in Netflix’s “Stranger Things.”For Uber Eats, Mike Myers and Dana Carvey are reprising their “Wayne’s World” roles from their “Saturday Night Live” sketches and movies from an era when slackers were all the cultural rage.In addition to Jeep, a few other companies, including Bass Pro Shops and the job-search site Indeed, have decided to avoid nostalgia by directly referencing the nation’s recent struggles.“Any time you’re running a big brand, you want to make sure that whatever you’re asserting has context and meaning, and is not just trying to sell stuff,” said Anton Vincent, the president of M&M’s parent company Mars Wrigley North America. “Now, of course, we are trying to sell stuff. But we have a responsibility with the messaging.”The diaper brand Huggies hit upon a way to capture the current moment while striking a hopeful note. Its commercial features babies — more specifically, infants born since midnight on Super Bowl Sunday itself. Parts of it were shot within the last 16 hours, with the participation of hospital maternity wards and willing parents.


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