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Bob Dylan’s Genius

Bob Dylan's Genius

Did you see Bob Dylan’s commercial for Detroit and Chrysler tonight during the Super Bowl broadcast?

Maybe not.

But did you hear about it?

Of course, you did.

And that’s the whole point. Bob Dylan has a genius for making an impression. He could be the head of marketing for my company, any time. Dylan is a master of re-invention. For more than 50 years, he has been confounding people with the introduction of a New Bob Dylan. Now he has emerged as a Made in America icon.

Who is talking about Seattle’s one-sided victory in the Super Bowl? The game wasn’t compelling. Dylan’s commercial was.

Whatever he does or says, the man has impact. People are always talking about him.

Based on what I’m reading on social media sites, a lot of people are bewildered by Dylan’s decision to appear in commercial blatantly supporting the fortunes of the U.S. auto industry and the city where cars are made, Detroit.

It’s understandable that people are confused. They’re also very angry at Dylan for “selling out.” Of course, they are.

Dylan has profited before by selling his songs in TV commercials, so this is not new. I used to wince when pop stars sold their songs for commercial purposes, too.It appalled me. But by doing this, the songwriters are keeping the songs alive and introducing them to a new audience. And if they’re making a pile of money in the process, so be it.

Dylan has long had a love for Detroit. He had relatives there as a kid. His favorite baseball team is the Detroit Tigers. When he was a kid, Detroit was a big deal, for a kid form tiny Hibbing, Minnesota. Of course, Dylan supports Detroit.

So, go ahead, America. Go ahead, Facebook Nation and Twitter-sphere. Knock Dylan all you want. The man knows exactly what he’s doing. 

You might say, he was never known to make a foolish move.

Jon Friedman is the author of “Forget About Today: Bob Dylan’s Genius for (Re)Invention, Shunning the Naysayers, and Creating a Personal Revolution” (Penguin, 2012

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