In quite possibly the best example of the worst instance of bad timing, news that rock legend Bruce Springsteen had been arrested in his native New Jersey last November on charges of driving while under the influence. Unfortunately for him, he had just starred in Jeep’s likely million-dollar Super Bowl ad “The Middle,” encouraging increasingly polarized Americans to find common ground.
Jeep didn’t quite appreciate the irony, pulling the ad from YouTube after TMZ reported the arrest earlier today. Clearly, the company thought it’d be a bad look for its spokesman to be facing charges of drunk driving so soon after the controversial commercial officially aired. As a Jeep spokesperson told Adweek, “It would be inappropriate for us to comment on the details of a matter we have only read about and we cannot substantiate. 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.”
For what it’s worth, the ad only seemed to confirm the division it condemned; Adweek reports that polls of social media drew some markedly contrary results, with Instagram responders split 50/50 on whether they hated or loved it and Twitter responders also split evenly along loving, hating, and being lukewarm on it, with a slight majority for “hate.” As for The Boss, TMZ reports he’ll have a court appearance in a few weeks, but we find it hard to imagine the living New Jersey state treasure getting anything worse than a slap on the wrist.