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Bruce Springsteen’s Jeep ad reinstated after drink driving charges dropped

By | Published on Thursday 25 February 2021

Bruce Springsteen

Jeep has re-uploaded the mega-bucks advert it created with Bruce Springsteen to its YouTube channel after drink driving charges against the musician were dropped in court yesterday.

Springsteen appeared virtually at a court hearing in New Jersey accused of driving under the influence of alcohol, reckless driving and consuming alcohol in a federal park in relation to an incident last year. Although he was convicted of and fined for the latter charge, the two more serious charges were dropped due to a lack of evidence.

The musician admitted that he had drunk two small shots of tequila prior to being stopped by a park ranger at the Gateway National Recreation Area in Sandy Hook, New Jersey on 14 Nov last year. Although the exact circumstances were not discussed in court, it has been reported that Springsteen stopped his motorcycle to talk to fans, who offered him the drinks.

After that conversation with the fans, he drove away but was then stopped by a park ranger who had seen him drinking. Springsteen refused a breathalyser test at the scene, but later took one at a ranger station, upon which is his blood alcohol level registered at .02 – well below the legal limit of .08.

Although the arrest report said that Springsteen had failed other sobriety tests and was “visibly swaying back and forth”, the judge said that there was not enough evidence to proceed.

According to the Asbury Park Press, after noting that he would be overseeing the case if it were to go to trial, Judge Anthony Mautone said: “I can’t imagine that I would be persuaded that the government could sustain its burden of proof”.

As for whether he had consumed alcohol in a prohibited area, that was another matter. Springsteen pleaded guilty to that charge and was ordered to pay a $500 fine, plus $40 in additional penalties.

News of Springsteen’s drink driving arrest emerged earlier this month, shortly after an advert for Jeep starring the musician premiered during this year’s Super Bowl. It was the first time in his career that Springsteen had agreed to appear in a commercial and had only come about after ten years of nagging from Jeep marketing exec Olivier François.

As well as all that effort to secure Springsteen for the ad, Jeep had also spent tens of millions of dollars making and then broadcasting it in one of the most expensive slots on US TV. Therefore, it was somewhat unfortunate timing for the vehicle manufacturer that Springsteen’s first ever brand endorsement coincided with his first DUI.

Once reports of the DUI allegations started to circulate, Jeep withdrew the advert from its YouTube channel, saying that is was “right that we pause our Big Game commercial until the actual facts can be established”.

If the charges are dropped without being considered in court, I’m not sure that counts as ‘establishing the facts’, and Springsteen doesn’t deny drinking tequila and then getting on a motorbike. Still, the dismissal of the drink driving charges is enough for Jeep and it has now uploaded the advert afresh to YouTube.

“Now that the matter has been resolved, we are unpausing the commercial”, says a Jeep spokesperson.

So, that’s all sorted then. The other Bruce Springsteen news this week, by the way, in case you somehow missed it, is that he’s launched a new podcast, on which he is joined by co-host Barack Obama. In the eight episode series – a Spotify exclusive – the duo chat about “their lives, music, and enduring love of America – despite all its challenges”. The first two episodes are available to listen to here.