For Super Bowl XLV, in 2011, Chrysler hired Eminem to deliver a loud and clear message: the American auto industry, most noticeably Chrysler and its affiliated companies, were back. Perhaps even more relevant was the theme that Detroit, America’s motor city, was also on an upswing.
Last year, Clint Eastwood delivered his “halftime in America” speech for Super Bowl XLVI. Though the ad soon turned into a political hot potato, its original message was meant be be this: America may be down, but it’s never truly out.
Hitting the sentiments of the viewing public seems to work for Chrysler, so its ads for Super Bowl XLVII continued on the same theme. Airing first was the commercial for Jeep, which featured Oprah Winfrey in a spot that was as much for the USO as it was for the Chrysler brand.
Its simple but heart-felt message was this: when our troops, who’ve sacrificed so much over the past decade, finally come home, America will be whole again. Chrysler and Jeep deserve credit here, since the brand was seriously downplayed in the spot, which did more to honor our military and the USO than it did to shill product.
The Ram Truck ad, “Farmer,” continued on the same theme, borrowing the voice of America’s most trusted radio announcer, the late Paul Harvey. Instead of video, we see the work of photographers like William Albert Allard and Kurt Markus, displayed in a slideshow as Paul Harvey recites his famous "So God Made A Farmer" speech.
Sadly, both spots depict a romanticized, rose-colored-glasses view of modern America that may not actually exist. Military veterans are returning to a country that has few support services for them, and even fewer jobs.
Farming as an occupation has been on the decline since 1935, when the United States had 6.8 million farms to support a population of 127 million. Today, the U.S. population has risen to over 285 million, yet the EPA reports that only two million farms remain.
Given that living costs for the average farm family (again, according to the EPA) exceed $47,000 annually, while most farms produce gross revenue below $50,000 per year, it’s hardly a get-rich-quick lifestyle. Or, for that matter, an occupation that allows one to purchase a new pickup truck.
Perhaps it's best to temporarily suspend reality when viewing Chrysler’s Super Bowl spots, just as we’ve done for the Mercedes-Benz CLA ad, or the Toyota clip featuring Kaley Cuoco. We all want to see America return to prosperity, even if the path is longer and more difficult than anyone originally believed.