Local photographer, farmer earn spots in Super Bowl ad
As sports fans sat down to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday, the game had special significance for Andy Anderson. A photographer with a studio in Mountain Home, it was possibly a once-in-a-lifetime chance to showcase his work to people across the nation.
Anderson was one of 10 photographers selected to document American farm life for an ad televised during Sunday's game. His photos were among dozens that appeared in the two-minute spot titled, "So God Made a Farmer."
Others commissioned to photograph farmers for the ad included National Geographic photographer William Albert Allard and documentary photographer Kurt Markus.
"There was no guarantee that any of our photos would make it in the ad," said Michael Perez, who manages the local studio.
Over the course of 11 days, Anderson drove approximately 4,500 miles to farms and ranches across southern Idaho and Nevada. Many of the individuals he photographed during his journey were those he'd known for a number of years, Anderson said.
In the end, he got five images in the ad. Among those captured in those images included Bill White, a farmer in Oreana, Idaho.
The photos were shot in late December as White tackled the day-to-day chores on his farm.
White figures that Anderson shot at least 2,500 photos during the day, knowing that only one or two would be submitted out of that bunch. In the end, there were actually three photos of the Oreana farmer featured in the ad. Among them is a shot of White kneeling and praying in a church.
"I had a lot of fun doing it," said White, who added that he had to keep things under wraps about his involvement in the ad as part of an agreement with the advertising company.
The farmer knew just two days prior to the Super Bowl that his pictures would appear in the ad. Aside from his wife, he'd shared the news with just his children and a few friends.
By Sunday evening, White started getting calls and e-mails from others he knew who saw his pictures in the ad.
The photos featured in the television ad yielded "a visual mosaic" that captured the life of farmers across the United States, according to a spokesperson with the Chrysler company.
As the images switched from one to another, the television spot aired the words of legendary radio broadcaster Paul Harvey to help convey the dedication and sacrifices made by farmers across this nation.
"And on the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, 'I need a caretaker.' So God made a farmer," Harvey said during a broadcast recorded more than 30 years ago.
"It was one of the greatest commercials I had ever seen," said White, who thanked the car company for paying tribute to America's farmers.
"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," said Sergio Marchionne, chairman and CEO for Chrysler Group LLC.
The video celebrates the work ethic, dedication and service farmers have endured to sustain "the very fabric of this nation," a company spokesman added. "(It) uses slices of farming life to remind us of our shared identity and character, the greatness born out of perseverance and determination and the rewards that come from hard work."
In addition, the car and truck company will use the ad to raise awareness and provide financial support to hunger relief efforts in local communities across America. Each time someone downloads or shares the two-minute "So God Made a Farmer" spot on the company's website, it will make a donation to the National FFA Organization, formerly known as the Future Farmers of America.
The company hopes to generate $1 million to the National FFA Organization effort.
The tribute to farmers was one of two advertisements aired by the company during Sunday's game aimed at paying tribute to sacrifices made by Americans. A separate two-minute advertisement titled "Whole Again" encourages people across the nation to embrace and support military men and women returning from combat service overseas.