Photo: Halftime In America
Yesterday’s Super Bowl Sunday ads featured the usual phalanx of celebrities – Coca Cola (KO) sent out its trusty polar bears; Pepsi (PEP) turned to Elton John and X-Factor winner Melanie Amaro; Acura (HMC) banked on comedians Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno; NBC (CMCSA) went to veteran Betty White.
However, one celebrity-led ad that stood out from the crowd was definitely Chrysler‘s “Halftime in America” commercial starring Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood. The patriotic ad celebrated Detroit and the revival of auto industry and served as a reminder that America, too, can make a comeback.
Minyanville’s own Michael Comeau has already skewered the commercial, and specifically Eastwood himself, for being illogical since Eastwood had gone on record to state his opposition to the auto bailout but was now starring in a ad championing an industry that survived because of the bailout.
It turns out besides Eastwood’s seemingly contradictory stance, there’s another noteworthy thing to point out about the two-minute long ad. As John Nichols of The Nation points out, at the 50-second mark, the ad featured a very quick shot of the mass pro-union protests in Madison, Wisconsin, last year. However, Chrysler had wiped out union signs.
The short footage of the protest in Madison was sourced from a viral video by Madison photographer, Matt Wisniewski, who licensed his video to Chrysler. In Wisniewski’s original video, shot at an evening rally outside the Wisconsin Capitol, there were shots of signs held up by members of Madison Teachers Inc., or MTI, the city’s education union that was a key player in the protests. One sign displayed MTI’s logo, while another read: “Care About Educators Like They Care for Your Child.”
However, in the image that we saw in the Chrysler ad, the MTI logo was wiped out and the “Care About Educators…” sign became a picture of an alarm clock. A few other union signs were also blanked out.
Granted, this was a fleeting shot that probably most paid scant attention to, but still, it is a little troubling that a very particular protest for a specific cause was whitewashed into a generic “protest scene” shot to sell cars. If Chrysler did not think the union signs were appropriate to sell cars, couldn’t it have just delved into Getty Images or a stock video agency to find some generic footage?
Here’s the Chrysler Super Bowl ad:
Here’s Matt Wisniewski’s original Wisconsin video:
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