Paul Harvey's ad
In our view
Super Bowl commercials typically range from the silly to the sublime. Rarely do they offer a serious viewpoint.
Perhaps that's why Ram Trucks' Super Bowl commercial, "So God made a Farmer," featuring the voice and words of the late Paul Harvey, has been so acclaimed.
Actors Gary Sinise and Rob Lowe were among those taken by the commercial. Tweeted Sinise: "Wonderful ad." Added Lowe: "God made a farmer. Yes. Not hip, no gimmicks. Not trying to be funny. Just great."
The ad touched on the spirit of the American farmer and, in a larger sense, the spirit of America. It spoke of the sacrifices and hardships and rewards that accompany farming.
For two minutes, it reminded urban, suburban and exurban dwellers where their food comes from, and the work that goes into producing that food.
It extolled the virtues of family farmers with whom Lancaster Countians are quite familiar.
As the advertisement has drawn fans, so, too, has it attracted critics. They argue that the family farm is a rarity these days; that billions in government subsidies are handed out to major agribusinesses, not to family farmers. Others asserted that the ads are Chrysler's attempt to rebrand itself after having received $12.3 billion in bailouts from the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
The critics have a point. More than 80 percent of government farm subsidies end up in the coffers of major corporations. And Chrysler has, in fact, been working to redo its image and to sell vehicles.
That said, farming is a noble occupation. Harvey's speech was originally presented at the 1978 National FFA Convention. It was designed to encourage young people to work in agriculture at a time when many were leaving to pursue jobs in business and industry.
But there is more to this ad than just a rebranding.
Ram Trucks promised to donate up to $1 million for Internet views of the commercial.
A spokesman for the National Future Farmers of America Foundation said Monday that the organization achieved that goal over the weekend. The $1 million will be used to fund the FFA's "Feeding the World" initiative.
The commercial can be viewed online simply by typing "Super Bowl farmer commercial."
So, this was more than just an advertisement: It was fund raiser.
As Paul Harvey might say, now you know the rest of the story.