Watching the Super Bowl this year was a somewhat unique for me. In the past, I’ve usually spent that special day at home in front of the fireplace, sharing the annual experience with friends and/or family. Of course, that day wouldn’t be complete without lots of good food and drinks, a roaring fire, cold weather, and great conversationalists.
Those who enjoy this annual classic tend to fall into one or more of several categories:
- Those who love the game of football.
- Those who are avid fans of one of the two teams.
- Those who enjoy spectacles of any kind.
- Those who wait breathlessly for the half time phenomenon in hopes of who knows what.
- Those who appreciate any reason to party.
- Those who look forward to the creativity of the astronomically priced commercials … this year costing $3.8 million dollars for a 30-second spot, a little over $7.5 million per minute!
This year, I found myself watching the game alone in a comfortable suite high above Times Square in the heart of New York City. I had to fly into the Big Apple on Super Bowl Sunday to prepare for the kick-off of a seminar series the following day for 300+ staff members.
While the environment was very strange for me this year, I found it strangely satisfying. Being along, I found it quite easy to focus more on the intricacies of the entire production. As a result, I must admit that I found myself a bit disappointed in the quality of the commercials this year. They’re usually very competitive and very little is spared in the production of what is hoped to be a fan favorite. Social media feedback revealed that several of this year’s entries were soundly criticized, the majority were mediocre, and a few were outstanding.
Budweiser may have had one of the worst ads of the big game, but they certainly redeemed themselves with an instant classic involving a beautiful Clydesdale. Unlike most commercials, not a single word was spoken in this spot. They simply focused on the images of a horse and the man who raised him, coupled with a perfectly matched Stevie Nicks song. Result? Instant bonding with the viewing audience and immediate acceptance by most!
Personally, I was most impressed by the “Farmer” commercial. It consisted of a simple slide show of photographs accompanied by a stirring tribute to America’s farmers by one of the greatest voices ever to cross our airways … Paul Harvey! The scratchy sounding audio actually came from a speech Paul gave at the 1978 National Future Farmers of America Convention.
The Ram commercial begins with a bleak photograph of a single cow in front of a snowy field, and Harvey’s voice says, “And on the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, ‘I need a caretaker.’ So God made a farmer.”
Paul Harvey was a broadcaster for ABC Radio for 51 years … perhaps best known for his segment “The Rest of the Story,” in which he would tell an unknown story about a famous person, leaving out who the story was about until the very end. Paul was often referred to as “the voice of middle America.” He died in 2009 to the dismay of millions of fans who listened to him regularly.
The content of this particular commercial touched the hearts, minds, and memories of many viewers as Paul reminded us of a time long ago when farmers were the backbone of this country. They demonstrated a strong work ethic coupled with formidable beliefs and values which led to our country commanding respect worldwide!
Times have certainly changed. Long gone are the iconic scenes of American landscapes dotted with family farms and red barns. Most of these have been replaced by industrialized facilities controlled by large corporations.
In the U.S., where the vast majority of people were farmers at the time of the American Revolution, less than 1% of the population can say they farm full-time today. As a result, we, as a society, have suffered dearly in a number of ways.
This is certainly difficult for many to comprehend as they have never come into contact with the many benefits of farm life. This holds true especially for our younger generation who would find life on a farm to be very alien to what they currently experience.
Are you open to a true challenge? Watch the following Super Bowl video once again in the company of a child or grandchild and try to explain how things used to be. Encourage them to ask questions about what they see and let them share their views on the content. I think you might be pleasantly surprised with the outcome of such a conversation and may even shed a tear as you focus on the content of the commercial.
For those of you who might be interested in learning more about the charismatic voice on the video, check out our previous article on the iconic Paul Harvey.