altSuper Bowl LII has come and gone, and, as always, most of the commercials were great.

Celebrities, athletes and others stumping for cars, beer, snacks, soda, cell phones and other products has become the norm on Super Sunday, and commercials have become a tradition, just like the game itself. I like football, but when the “big game” isn’t exactly going the way I want, I’m ready for the commercials to come on.

My favorite commercials over the years have featured the famous Budweiser Clydesdales (the one a few years ago with the lost puppy was a real tear jerker), and the truck commercial featuring the “eligible bachelor” that turned out to be a Hereford bull was hilarious. And who can forget the commercial featuring the immortal words of Paul Harvey and why God made a farmer? That one continues to circulate around even today.

The only agriculture-related commercial I saw this year was promoting avocados from Mexico. Of all the crops grown in the U.S., the only commercial featuring an agriculture product during the biggest televised sports event in the nation is avocados from Mexico? It’s the only time I have ever seen a television commercial for avocados. I’m not a fan of avocados, but the folks who decided to advertise during the Super Bowl know that enough guacamole is consumed during Super Bowl Sunday to cover the entire length of a football field… 11.8 feet deep.

What happened to happy chickens, milk mustaches and the gravelly voice of Sam Elliot asking what’s for dinner?

Many commercials were for food items, yet there was no mention about where that food comes from. Potato and corn chips, the last time I checked, are made from potatoes and corn, yet there was no mention of those crops. No mention of the farmers who produced the beef that went into the all-beef patty, or the lettuce, tomato and onion that topped them. No mention of the farmer who grew the wheat for the bun or the dairy farmer whose cows produce the cheese that was melted on top. Not even a mention of the old pigskin was made during the Super Bowl.

Kraft Foods had a couple of spots during the game, but there was no salute to our nation’s farmers.

While only avocados got a spotlight, most of the products advertised have a connection to agriculture, right down to the tires on the latest and greatest car and the plastic in cell phones. It’s amazing how many non-food items are related to agriculture, and many people have no idea how tied they are to the industry.

The Super Bowl drew in an estimated 103 million viewers and I think many of our agricultural companies and organizations missed out on some great advertising opportunities. There were literally tons of burgers, chicken wings, pulled pork, pizza, chips and dip, and other foods consumed on game day, but not a word from anyone involved in agriculture. Only the avocado folks got on the bandwagon.

According to various sources, advertisers shelled out about $5 million for a 30-second airtime slot during the Super Bowl. Is it worth it? Many companies apparently think it is and not only pay the airtime cost, but bring in big-name celebrities to make their advertising more appealing.

In today’s world, agriculture businesses and organizations have to be more aggressive. Fifty-two years ago, public relations to farmers was waving at their neighbor as they drove by or joining their local Farm Bureau or Farmers Union. Farmers and ranchers didn’t have to worry about public perception; unfortunately, our world has changed.

Agricultural technology and science today is cutting edge in the U.S., yet we still struggle to share what we do and how we do it. We struggle to get the word out to consumers that our food supply is the safest in the world, thanks to our farmers and that those involved in agriculture, be it a small hobby farm or a large dairy operation, are the greatest stewards of natural resources. Having millions of people see and hear that message at one time, especially as they stuff themselves with tailgating favorites, would have been a great service to the agriculture community. 

Our agricultural organizations and companies dropped the ball.



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