After all the pomp and circumstance, in the end it was an ad for a truck, and another for beer that brought me to tears.
The Super Bowl is famous for being the launching pad for television commercials. With rates upwards of $4 million for 30-second spots, sponsors are looking for a big reaction in return for their big investment.
Dodge put the words of a 1970s speech by the late radio personality Paul Harvey together with stunning, documentary-style photography, to honor America's farmers (and sell its pickup truck). Mid-way through the two-minute spot, I was a pile of farm-raised mush. So too, were most advertising analysts and those in the media. Politico gathered a few comments from industry types.
MSNBC's Chris Jansing: "This is the first commercial that has blown me away. Stunning images in the 'God made a farmer'/Paul Harvey commercial for Ram trucks - cj"
NPR's Scott Simon: "I'm a city kid (knew Paul Harvey in Chicago, in fact), & tears are streaming over that 'So God made a farmer' ad."
My Facebook feed blew up.
Storm Lake Pilot-Tribune: "This video is better than the game."
Kris Johnson Keene (my sister): "No matter what you did tonight, you will see this video. I love my life!"
Iowa's Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey, commented in the Des Moines Register: "It's nice to see that kind of positive image for agriculture, especially when there's been so much criticism.
When we spend so much time talking about the image of agriculture it is good to be reminded that most people have a very high opinion of farmers and we just need to do a better job communicating what we are doing on the farm."
The haters will hate, and there were haters. Some complained about the final shot, set in front of a confinement building. Others argued that it was a great ad for farmers, but it wasn't an ad for farmers, it was an ad for a pickup.
Me? I felt such a sense of pride and I was overcome by the striking, iconic images. It's the kind of spot you wait for in a night filled with clunkers (not only on the field, but in the ads as well).
Budweiser, known for pulling out all the stops for its Super Bowl ads, hit us all where we live emotionally, with its "Brotherhood" Clydesdale ad. If you've ever loved an animal, had a pet, or have a heart, it hit you.
On the other side of the equation? I'm still trying to mentally erase that GoDaddy ad featuring supermodel Bar Rafael and a "nerd." I heard later that GoDaddy trimmed some of the more cringe-worthy shots. I can't even imagine. Nor do I want to.