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Like that Chrysler Super Bowl ad with Clint Eastwood? Thank a poet

The Super Bowl is the Super Bowl of advertising -- wait, there must be a better way to say that. But heck, I write about books. What do I know about sports, or major media buys, or the business of writing ad copy?

I admit, very little.

But one thing I do know is that of the three people credited as copywriters on the powerful Chrysler advertisement above, the one featuring Clint Eastwood that aired for the first time during Sunday's Super Bowl, one is poet Matthew Dickman.

Dickman -- whose twin brother, Michael, is also a poet -- is the poetry editor of Tin House magazine. He's got one collection, "All-American Poem," and has been published by many fine magazines, including Narrative and the New Yorker. He's won a number of prestigious awards. But none of those things makes him a shoo-in for a Chrysler Super Bowl ad.

The advertising firm that created the spot is Wieden & Kennedy, the Portland, Ore., firm known for its seminal Nike ads. Dickman, too, is based in Portland.

Maybe that explains it. But it wouldn't explain one of Dickman's co-authors, Smith Henderson. I suspect he is the short story writer Smith Henderson, a recipient of the 2011 PEN American Center Emerging Writers award.

Maybe more literary writers should give advertising a try.

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-- Carolyn Kellogg

 
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