Jeep restored its 2021 Super Bowl ad to the brand’s pages today after federal prosecutors dismissed driving while intoxicated and reckless driving charges against its star, rock music legend Bruce Springsteen, reports the Washington Post. The brand pulled the ad off of its social media accounts earlier this month after TMZ publicized the rocker’s Nov. 14 arrest.
Springsteen was arrested in the Gateway National Recreation Area in Sandy Hook, New Jersey, which is administered by the National Park Service. He pleaded guilty to the lone remaining charge of drinking alcohol in an enclosed area, as consumption of alcohol is banned in many areas within the park, including on Sandy Hook location where Springsteen was arrested. Springsteen admitted to having “two small shots of tequila” in his court appearance on Wednesday.
Yet those two tequila shots weren’t enough to merit more serious charges. According to the Washington Post, prosecutors dropped the DWI and reckless driving charges due to Springsteen’s low blood alcohol level. While Springsteen’s blood alcohol content was not specified in the Washington Post’s report, an unnamed source close to the case previously told the Asbury Park Press that it was only 0.02—just a quarter of the 0.08 legal BAC limit in New Jersey.
At the time of his arrest, Springsteen admitted to the officer that he had the two tequila shots within 20 minutes of getting on his motorcycle and starting the engine. Springsteen had pulled over for a photo-op with fans, who offered him the shots of Patrón tequila. Park ranger R.L. Hayes, who arrested Springsteen, claimed that the rocker “smelt strongly of alcohol coming off his person and had glassy eyes” in his report. Springsteen took several field sobriety tests but initially refused a breathalyzer test.
TMZ first reported on Springsteen’s arrest earlier this month. The fact that the arrest included serious driving-related offenses prompted Jeep to “pause” the ad from its online accounts while the facts of the case “until the actual facts can be established,” as Jeep spokeswoman Diane Morgan told the New York Times.
Now the Jeep ad is back, as a Jeep spokesperson told Adweek, “As we stated previously, we paused the commercial until the facts were established. Now that the matter has been resolved, we are unpausing the film,” Should you want to check it out on Jeep’s official YouTube channel, you can find it here as of Wednesday afternoon.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Anthony Mautone ordered Springsteen to pay a fine of $540 for having those two small shots of tequila in the national park, which includes court fees. The alcohol ban on Sandy Hook was only recently instated in 2019. Springsteen grew up roughly 30 miles away from the park and still about 18 miles away.
Because the Gateway National Recreation Area is part of the National Park Service, Springsteen faced federal charges for the incident. Had Springsteen been convicted of a DWI in the park, he would have faced up to $5,000 in fines and up to six months in federal prison, per the Washington Post—plus, (wild guess here) Jeep probably wouldn’t have reinstated Springsteen’s Super Bowl ad then.
The Jeep Super Bowl spot, titled “The Middle,” was Springsteen’s first-ever ad at age 71. The ad featured Springsteen driving to the geographical center of the U.S.’s contiguous 48 states, wherein he urged Americans to reunite and find some middle ground behind the wheel of a classic open-top Jeep CJ-5. Springsteen not only starred in the film, but he also collaborated with Ron Aniello on its score. According to Adweek, the two-minute Jeep spot was the longest ad to run during Super Bowl LV.
Comments remain closed on Jeep’s Feb. 24 re-upload of the ad on YouTube at the time of this writing, nor were we able to embed the re-uploaded ad here. This isn’t Jeep’s first brush with controversy over a Super Bowl ad, as outdoors group Trout Unlimited took issue with Jeep driving a 2019 Cherokee down the middle of a stream in 2018. Jeep also took harsh criticism from Yoopers this year, as Michigan’s Upper Peninsula was left off of the map in Jeep’s “The Middle” ad.
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