I'm old enough to remember when the Ronald Reagan campaign lifted Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" to sell the Gipper.
Springsteen was, and is, a Democrat. He didn't like being done that way. He complained, and ever since then musicians have been complaining when politicians have used their stuff without their direct political consent. (Not that it's stopped the politicians.)
Something similar happened during last night's Super Bowl.
Clint Eastwood re-elected President Obama.
I know he didn't mean to. Clint is a lifelong Republican, a former mayor of Carmel, California, quite outspoken in his beliefs, most of which I disagree with. But, like Springsteen, he's a brand. He represents America, and when he speaks we listen.
Yesterday he spoke for Detroit. He never mentioned the brand, Chrysler, whose message he was narrating. He didn't mention that Chrysler is, at present, a joint-venture between the UAW's health plan and the Italian auto maker Fiat, one Fiat is due to own all of in 2015.
Instead he gave a "half-time pep talk" to the country, noting that Detroit was back, that America was back, and the world better watch out for us in the second half.
It was inspiring. It was non-political. But it was political as hell.
That's largely due to Fiat's full-throated adoption of American patriotism, especially last year's top ad, with Eminem, which closed with the now-memorable phrase "Imported from Detroit." Both ads were extremely well-executed, both packed a wallop, and both prove that advertising can actually matter.
But even if you don't know that Obama bailed-out Chrysler and GM while Romney said no, you will be November. It will be in the President's ads, and when he nails Romney on the chin with it during the coming debates, the blow will be telling.