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A Closer Look at Chrysler’s “God Made a Farmer” Super Bowl Commercial

As we wrote this past Monday, Chrysler scored a major advertising win during the Super Bowl with the commercial above, titled “Farmer.” It’s a simple photo slideshow with Paul Harvey’s “So God Made a Farmer” speech playing in the background.

Despite its simplicity, it has become one of the most talked about ads over the past week, and now new details are emerging regarding its creation.

One of the photographers that contributed to the project, Andy Anderson, has written up a blog post with some background info on how everything came together.

The spot was the brainchild of ad guru Jimmy Bonner of The Richard’s Group, which recruited ten talented photographers: Andy Anderson, William Allard, Jim Arndt, Daniel Beltra, Mark Gooch, Andy Mahr, Kurt Markus, David Spielman, Matt Turley and Olaf Veltman.

Four of Andy Anderson's contributions to the advertisement

Four of Andy Anderson’s contributions to the advertisement

The photographers were given simple instructions and the speech by Paul Harvey, and were asked to spend time with farmers and ranchers. They knew that their photographs would be used during a 2-minute Ram commercial during the Super Bowl, but they had freedom to shoot whatever they felt was appropriate.

Anderson writes that he feels blessed to have taken part in the unique photo assignment:

A transcendent project unlike any that I have worked on. 10 photographers capturing on there own terms the life of a farmer and rancher. All of us searching for meaningful images. Not any one photo rising above any others, but collectively voicing a message for folks and a vocation we have all really taken for granted. The last truly archetypical American worker. And who better else to match the images with than Paul Harvey…America’s grandfather.

His blog post also contains the set of photographs he personally submitted to the ad agency.

The advertisement was voted #1 Super Bowl ad this year by AdWeek. The photoblogosphere was also buzzing with the fact that a photo-driven ad was featured so prominently during such a big event.

On the other hand, the ad did draw its fair share of critics, from people complaining about the fact that “God” is mentioned, to the fact that Latino farmers weren’t represented in the photos, to the fact that it may be out of touch with the modern food system, to the fact that all the photogs enlisted were men.

The folks over at Funny Or Die decided to capitalize on the minor controversies by creating a parody commercial lampooning the original ad (warning: some statements may be a bit offensive):

In the end, Chrysler paid over a million dollars for every 10 seconds in the commercial, and its gamble in going with a completely photo driven advertisement seems to have paid off big time for the brand and for the photographers involved.

(via A Photo Editor)


P.S. Coudal notes that the commercial’s concept is far from original. Apparently state agriculture departments and farm bureaus have been creating similar videos using Harvey’s speech for years.