The 10 Best Commercials of 2012

The year's most entertaining, intriguing, powerful and beautiful spots

Chrysler, "It's Halftime in America"

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore.
Director: David Gordon Green, Chelsea Pictures

It's a rare commercial that can stop a rowdy Super Bowl party in its tracks. Yet Chrysler managed just that in homes and bars across the country last February with this hard-boiled two-minute manifesto from Wieden + Kennedy that dared to speak for America—in the voice of Detroit. Months before Clint Eastwood addressed an empty chair, he spoke to the people, challenging them in tough times to find hope beyond despair and to see Detroit not as a black eye but as an inspiration. "This country can't be knocked out with one punch," he says gruffly. "We get right back up again. And when we do, the world's going to hear the roar of our engines." The actor's odd furniture scolding at the Republican National Convention belatedly took some of the sheen off this spot, revealing the depth of its artifice. Still, it was the one Super Bowl ad that dared to go beyond advertising and join a larger national conversation. It did so with muscle and style. In the end, it was the game's best national ad, and a worthy successor to Chrysler's Emmy-winning "Born of Fire" spot from the year before.

Full credits here.

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