Missoula writer shares credit for "It's Halftime in America" Super Bowl ad

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The Super Bowl is watched as much for the commercials as the football game, and the most talked about commercial after last Sunday's game was Chrysler's "It's Halftime in America" spot featuring Clint Eastwood.

The L.A. Times called it "powerful." The Washington Post went with "rousing." CNN said, "it struck every chord of a true patriotism." USA Today thought Eastwood had become "almost as big a Super Bowl presence" as winning quarterback Eli Manning, and later added the Chrysler spot to its influential Ad Meter, despite it airing during halftime. And, in the last few days, the commercial has continued to gain buzz for its supposed political message, which Chrysler and Eastwood deny.

Smith Henderson, a Missoula author who also works as a copywriter for Portland ad firm Wieden + Kennedy, helped write the spot. He's credited with acclaimed poet Matthew Dickman and Kevin Jones.

I reached out to Henderson to learn more about the making of the ad, but he respectfully directed all queries to Wieden + Kennedy, presumably because of the ad's recent controversy. (In short, some feel Eastwood basically offered up a defense of the automaker bailout and a campaign pitch for President Obama. Eastwood, however, is a Republican and says that's silly. It was a car commercial about "the spirit of America.")

We have yet to hear back from the ad firm, but here's what we know about Henderson. He's the recipient of the 2011 PEN Emerging Writers Award for a work-in-progress titled Separatists, which is set in Montana. He grew up in Missoula, and went to Hellgate and UM. He's also a graduate of the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas, and his fiction has earned numerous honors, including the Pushcart Prize.

We'll update if we hear from the ad firm. In the meantime, congrats to Henderson.

Here's the spot:

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