And Finally Brands & Merch Legal

Jeep withdraws Bruce Springsteen advert after drink driving charge emerges

By | Published on Thursday 11 February 2021

Bruce Springsteen

Jeep spent ten years convincing Bruce Springsteen to star in the first ever advert of his entire career. It was then three whole days before it withdrew said ad. The move came after it emerged that the musician was arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol in November last year.

The big bucks advert, which saw Springsteen driving a Jeep around an empty landscape, delivering a message of unity, was aired during Sunday’s Super Bowl American football game. It was also put up on the Jeep YouTube channel, but has now been removed.

“It would be inappropriate for us to comment on the details of a matter we have only read about and we cannot substantiate”, Jeep said in a statement to Variety. “But it’s also right that we pause our Big Game commercial until the actual facts can be established. Its message of community and unity is as relevant as ever. As is the message that drinking and driving can never be condoned”.

Springsteen was arrested at New Jersey’s Gateway National Recreation Area on 14 Nov for driving while intoxicated, reckless driving and consuming alcohol in a closed area. However, it has subsequently emerged that his blood alcohol level when tested was .02 – well under the state’s legal limit for driving, which is .08 – calling into question why he was arrested at all.

A National Park Service spokesperson said in a statement that the singer “was cooperative throughout the process”. The musician will appear in court on the charges at a later date.

Throughout his career, Springsteen has steadfastly refused to appear in or allow his music to be used in adverts. It was something of a coup, then, for Jeep to change his mind. He only did so, his manager John Landau said, after he was given complete creative control over the ad by the brand.

It took marketing exec Olivier François around ten years and “many drinks and dinners” to secure the partnership, so it’s somewhat unfortunate that Springsteen got what appears to be his first drink driving charge during its production.

“The only way to make a return on investment is to make the ad last”, François told the New York Times last week. “If it’s going to be forgotten in a year or so, it probably is not worth the money”.

Springsteen promoting a vehicle brand via his first ever advertising tie-up at the same time as being caught up in a drink driving case – even if the charges are confirmed a nonsense – will probably ensure we all remember this particular Jeep promo, even if it is never returned to the company’s YouTube channel.

Although François might wonder if this particular way of securing longevity is “worth the money”.