Oh, Clint and Chrysler, make us believe.

Oh, Clint and Chrysler, make us believe.

When Chrysler’s “Halftime in America” spot aired in the first halftime commercial break of XLVI Super Bowl on February 5, 2012, it became an instant classic. Wieden+Kennedy’s two-minute tone poem intoned by Clint Eastwood (Mr. Tough American himself) struck a nerve.

Over beautiful cinematography, Clint spoke of resigned hope and optimism for Detroit and the American car industry. Like the genius Hal Riney spots that launched the Saturn auto brand, this spot resonated because it was honest, confessed past sins, then asked absolution and forgiveness in setting a new path forward to making better American cars (“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned…”).

Terrific, powerful stuff. If only it were true. Saturn started with great expectations, then morphed into a generic GM brand and drifted into oblivion. Which leaves us with Chrysler and its promise.

I was recently involved in a car accident and had to get a rental while my car was in the shop. I was put in a Chrysler 200. I think if I put Clint Eastwood in one, he’d give it a short drive, park and fire a full load from his .44 Magnum Smith & Wesson into it.

The engineers had to work hard designing a car this uncomfortable (did Marquis de Sade design the seats?). This vehicle could be used for enhanced interrogations Gitmo.

Fortunately, the car had ants and that gave me a reason to return it for a Toyota Corolla, a small car that’s so far superior to the Chrysler, it’s depressing.

Everything about the Toyota is better than the Chrysler: the ride, comfort, ergonomics, sound system, mileage, fit and finish– you name it. Which sucks.

It sucks because I wanted to believe Clint Eastwood’s halftime speech about a rededication to building great cars. It sucks because I’m a proud American and would love to buy American if given a compelling choice. It sucks because an adman like myself wants to believe in great advertising and has his heart broken when beautiful work proves to be empty promises and wishful thinking.

Ford’s have gotten better, Chevy’s, too, but check out the competition, Detroit– it’s superior to what you’re making. Car reviews prove it, consumer stats confirm it.

Halftime is over, Chrysler. If you’re going to kick some ass, you’re going to have to have a better game plan, and I believe all Americans would cheer for you to come up with one.

We’ve been waiting far too long. Let’s go, team!