A great many Super Bowl viewers were shocked to see Bob Dylan in a Chrysler commercial last night, but they really shouldn’t have been. This was far from his first appearance in a televised ad, and it wasn’t even the only time his music was heard in one last night (his 1966 classic “I Want You” appeared in a commercial for Chobani yogurt).
Back in 1965, a reporter at a San Francisco press conference asked Dylan what product he’d ever think about endorsing. The singer promptly responded with two words: “women’s garments.” It got a good laugh, but 39 years later he fulfilled that prophecy when he appeared alongside model Adriana Lima in an ad for Victoria’s Secret. “Was I not supposed to do that?” he snapped at Rolling Stone the following year. “I wish I had seen it. Maybe I’d have something to say about it. I don’t see that kind of stuff. That’s for other people to see and make up what they will.”
The 2004 Victoria’s Secret ad – which used his 1997 song “Love Sick” — was Dylan’s first physical appearance in a commercial, though back in the 1990s Richie Havens’ cover of “The Times They Are A’Changin'” was used in an ad for a Canadian bank. Around that same time, Apple used a 1963 photo of Dylan in their “Think Different” ad campaign.
Last night’s Chrysler ad wasn’t even Dylan’s first appearance in a car commercial. In 2007, he appeared in an ad for the Cadillac Escalade, and was even shown driving the sport utility vehicle. That angered many people, but it’s hard to imagine that Dylan cared one bit. If anything, the negative feedback probably only encouraged him to do another one.