Chrysler's Super Bowl ad for its Dodge Ram truck, which features a lengthy paen to farmers by the late radio commentator Paul Harvey over gripping photos of their lives, has been received warmly across the twitterverse.
You may have seen something quite like it on the web long before Sunday, however.
The "So God Made A Farmer" ad, which matched a 1978 speech by the veteran broadcaster to a Future Farmers of America convention with work by 10 photographers commissioned by Chrysler, met with instant praise from everyone from real-life farmers to Hollywood celebrities.
Actor Rob Lowe tweeted: “Not hip, no gimmicks. Not trying to be funny. Just great." Fellow actor Gary Sinise agreed: “Great tribute to the American farmer. Wonderful ad.”
Farms.com, however, posted a highly similar video to its YouTube channel in 2011:
Slate called the Chrysler a the "most striking" of the year's telecast, but noted: "The only difference between it and the Dodge ad is lower production values and no pitch for Dodge at the end.”
“Another reason the Super Bowl ads aren't that interesting anymore: Better stuff gets uploaded to YouTube every day,” Slate bemoaned.
Chrysler argued that the Super Bowl ad was an act of homage, not plagiarism, and made with Farm.com’s permission. (A note on Farms.com's YouTube page states the organization was pleased to be work with Ram Trucks and support the "Farmer" Super Bowl scommercial. Slate has amended its post to make clear it was not implying wrongdoing.)
"It’s not a rip, it’s keeping the idea alive,” tweeted Dodge/Ram design chief Ryan Nagode.
The Ram brand has a longstanding partnership with the national FFA organization (also known as Future Farmers of America). For every view, download or share of the two-minute “So God Made a Farmer” spot, Ram said it will make a donation to the organization, intent on gnerating $1 million.
Chrysler chairman Sergio Marchionne said in a statement that “for the past two years, we have used the largest television viewing audience to highlight the pride, the resilience and the determination that form an integral part of the American character.”
The “Farmer” spot was created for Chrysler by The Richards Group of Dallas, Tex., which declined comment Monday.
Chrysler's implied coziness with farmers appeared too much for Ford, a close competitor, to absorb silently. Shortly after the ad debuted, Ford appeared on Twitter to affirm its association with them as well.
“We're proud to have supported Future Farmers of America since 1948," the company said, and also offered a timeline of its lengthy association with the organization.