Why ‘Halftime in America’ is one of the best Super Bowl ads

By Joe Glennon
Assistant Professor of Advertising


In 2012, Chrysler’s “Halftime in America” commercial detail the struggles of Detroit’s auto industry and left viewers with a new hope for its future. Here is why Assistant Professor Joe Glennon thinks it’s one of the best Super Bowl ads ever made.
The rest of the commercials are extremely forgettable or aren’t so connected to the Super Bowl. There were others that broke the 30 second format. There are others with celebrities. There are others that broke 30 seconds and featured celebrities.


But “Halftime” has lots going for it:


The timing

It ran at halftime which matched the theme of the spot. The simplicity of that connection can’t be overlooked. Great convergence of idea and media placement.


The tone

The quiet of the spot helped it stand out. In the din of the rest of the ads, the quiet of Halftime was deafening.


The message

The message was fresh. It was an admission that times are bad without finger pointing at who caused the trouble. This was a remarkable break from the FOX-News/MSNBC/Talk Radio approach. In the same no nonsense way that is embodied by Clint Eastwood, the spot used simple language to unite us and urge us to rise above:


We’re all scared…
We all pulled together…
We’ve lost our heart at times…
We all rallied around what was right…
Because that’s what we do.
If we can’t find a way, we’ll make one.
We come together.
The world is going to hear the roar of our engines.


The execution

The direction, editing, writing and performance are all fantastic, examples of how good advertising can be. It should be added to spots like the John Lewis Christmas Ad 2011 as examples of advertising ascending to something special.

When your competition is beer fetching dogs, talking babies and the Coke polar bears, it’s not too hard to stand out.