I'll be honest: I didn't watch the Super Bowl.
Maybe it was my antipathy for Ray Lewis, maybe I was already tired of Har-Bowl, maybe it was just that my team wasn't in the game... For whatever reason my wife and I weren't jazzed about the game this year. Last year we hosted a Super Bowl party, but with our first baby due to arrive in 22 days we decided to forego the headache of hosting and just have a nice night in (we watched the Kirk Douglas classic Spartacus, in case you were wondering).
And then mid-way through the game my phone started buzzing as my social media feeds blew up over one of the commercials. While I'm a sucker for Clydesdales and think Terry Tate is still one of my favorite Super Bowl spots of all time, I was taken aback by the avalanche of immediate response to this spot:
I grew up on a farm. It wasn't the biggest farm in the country, but it was home. We raised cows and hay and corn and soybeans, and my Little Brother still farms with Dad's help yet today, while I'm a committed suburbanite.
My connection to the farm today, aside from helping Little Brother with his grain marketing strategies, is through the written word. I write about farming, food production and agribusiness for a living, and I think I have the greatest job in the world. Even so, I was surprised Dodge would spend a record $4 million to more or less promote the American farmer.
Apparently, the ad was a hit.
Agriculture is often thought of within the industry as our nation's most essential profession. We are, as a country, food self-sufficient, and are the most productive food-producing nation in the world. And yet farmers face unprecedented scrutiny. From animal rights activists to environmental extremists to the simple fact that more Americans have more questions about where their food comes from than ever before, farmers are under a magnifying glass, for better or for worse.
It was refreshing to see not only the recognition from Dodge, but also to see the overwhelmingly positive reaction to a spot that wasn't clever, funny or overwrought.
As an old radio guy and a farm boy at heart, I miss Paul Harvey, and I tip my hat to Dodge for tipping their hat to the American farmer.