Monday, February 6, 2012

Chrysler, Clint & Madison

Union workers from Wisconsin were not the only bit of Madison protests to appear at yesterday's Super Bowl. The mucho discussed Chrysler's "Half Time in America" ad featuring husky voiced Clint Eastwood and a surprise shot from one of Matt Wisniewski's beloved videos of the Capitol protests made the scene and got a lot of people talking.

Still image from Chrysler commercial

The discussions online about the commercial have been interesting - people seem to either love the "we're down but not out" meme or hate the flag waving emotional manipulation Chrysler is trying to sell. The Siren appreciated the admission that America is in trouble and only together we will make it better - that's a pretty big concept for two minutes and try and sell your cars.

(Of course there is Danica Patrick shaking her ass for those who want a "clear" message.)

What's more interesting is that the Chrysler commercial creators used footage of Madison at all. These kind of decisions are not accidental and if you watch the commercial a few times you see how Chrysler uses the images to support the exact words of the narration. Wisniewski's footage comes as Clint is speaking about national division and lack of understanding. It appears during the sentence: "the fog of division, discord and blame". (At the 50 sec. mark)

Some of the Siren's blogger friends and folks online have very specific complaints about the commercial: like Chrysler's decision to Photoshop the protest signs and change the wording to something non-specific - as if it is a slap in the face to protesters.


It's a commercial! The idea is to present a broad theme of ideas that are individually manifested by each viewer. It's a concept - not an endorsement for the MTI. On that level the Siren thinks it worked. The commercial is pro-worker, pro-union (lot's of firemen and teachers) and pro-American.

Some complain that Wisniewski sold out to corporate interests and Chrysler - being the problem - is cashing in on a populist uprising just to sell cars. We imagine some of those complaints are being posted by people using HP and Apple computers from the bowels of a Starbucks who will never get the irony.

There is no place in Wisconsin who has more conflicted and raw feelings about Chrysler than SE Wisconsin. Did Chrysler leave Kenosha because they hate Wisconsin workers or did they leave because assholes like Paul Ryan voted for loophole after loophole that allows companies to leave the U.S. with no penalty and cheap labor?

If you wanna have a discussion about corporate sell-outs, come down to the 1st Congressional District.

Lastly, some have taken umbrage with the narration that accompanies the Madison video: "the fog of division, discord and blame" as if that undermines the spirit and intent of the protests themselves. WTF?

The Madison protests were not some happy sleepover, a festival of love and peace. While many of us had a bit if fun, it was an uprising of anger and protest. Own it.

If the last year has not been about the division in our state, the demonization of progressive ideals and the uprooting of a century of labor peace, then the Siren doesn't know what it was about.

There is massive discord and there is pointed, specific blame and if you spent any time out collecting recall signatures you know first hand how much division is out there. The question is...and the commercial asks...are we going to move forward or not?

Last year Chrysler paid Eminem a million bucks for their 200 commercial - it was a good commercial. This one was better.

Here is Matt's original video from which the footage was's a good one.