It’s rare in 2021 for advertisers to still be able to take viewers by surprise (if nothing else, life in the pandemic has thrown up so many curveballs that nothing would really surprise us anymore). Occasionally, a campaign comes along that grabs us as unexpected, whether it’s an out-of-the-box idea, or a celebrity you’d never expect to see in a commercial. Here’s a selection that grabbed our attention this year.
The Super Bowl is so full of celebrities these days that it’s hard to pick anyone surprising to front an ad. But Jeep managed it with the star of its 2021 in-game spot: Bruce Springsteen. In the two-minute ad by Doner called “The Middle,” the rocker, who had never before agreed to appear in a commercial, was pictured standing in the dead center of America and making clear reference to the nation’s political turmoil in the wake of the deadly Capitol riots. While “The Boss” was a big get for Jeep, its coup almost went horribly wrong; just three days after the Big Game, it was reported that Springsteen had been arrested for DWI and Jeep pulled the ad. It later reinstated it after he was cleared of the charges.