Three days after Clint Eastwood's "half-time in America" Super Bowl commercial, people are still talking about it . And the people talking loudest are Chrysler dealers.
They are furious that the emotional Super Bowl spot is being seen as a ploy to help President Obama's re-election campaign.
Chrysler's National Dealer Council held an emergency meeting, the Wall Street Journal reported, and announced, "We have no doubt that this ad had no political agenda of any kind but rather [was] a statement of fact and hope for the future for all of us and America,"
The two-minute ad, shown once on Sunday, during the Super Bowl sparked debate"from living rooms to dealerships across the country," said the WSJ - and viewership zoomed even higher with 5.5 million people looking at the ad on YouTube.
Oliver Francois, Chrysler's chief marketing officer and man behind the ad ,said, "It was designed to deliver emotions and I don't think emotions have a party. There was zero political message. It was meant more of a rally cry to get together and what makes us strong is our collective power and not our individual disagreements."
President Obama's administration provided bailout funding which was critical for Chrysler and GM in 2009. Without they would likely not have survived.
But Georgia dealer Cass Burch denied the ad was a political thank you. "That comment makes me want to fistfight somebody. Here I was overwhelmed with emotion and pride.
"It is bush league for them to take something that is so heroic and so patriotic about our company and to make it political."
In the spot Eastwood says: "Seems that we've have lost our hearts at times. The fog of division, discord and blame, made it hard to see what lies ahead but after those trials we all rallied around what was right and acted as one. "
Next day Republican commentator Karl Rove told Fox News he was offended by the commercial. He said "the President of the United States and his political minions are in essence using our tax dollars to buy corporate advertising."
New York-based marketing firm Zeta Interactive said the buzz around he ad has been 83% positive. Collective Intellect, a tracking firm in Colorado, said its research shows that since the spot aired, "consumers' affinity and favour of the Chrysler brand had increased," reported the WSJ.
Auto-shopping website Edmunds.com said Tuesday's traffic for Chrysler was showing a 23% increase, higher than all but two of the other car firms that appeared in the game.