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Tuesday, 5 February 2013

God made a farmer? God made gays, too

From the Budweiser ad.
The 2013 Super Bowl commercials are legendary. They are high-quality, the time slot is expensive, and they are usually more interesting than ads appearing at other times of the year. All eyes are on them. This year, two ads focus on farmers: a Budweiser beer ad and an ad for RAM, an auto brand owned by carmaker Chrysler. The Bud ad did make me teary. It's a schmaltzy ploy for an emotional reaction, and hinges on the notion of loyalty. A refreshing affirmation of irrational certainties in an otherwise confusing and polarised world. But the RAM ad hinges on something a bit more angular and manipulable: the words 'God made a farmer'. It's nicely made and features a gruff male voiceover reciting what sounds like poetry - words apparently issuing from the small, wooden rural church we see early in the ad - which elencates the sterling qualities of farmers. What is involved in being a farmer? Listen to this, we're told. But the overt religious appeal of the ad was certain to rub people like me up the wrong way. So we're talking about monotheism? Well, I thought as I watched the ad, there are religious loonies in the Middle East as well, so big deal. And then I thought that the murder scene from Ang Lee's majisterial movie Brokeback Mountain (2005) should be screened alongside the RAM ad, just to show how small-minded, bigoted and evil farmers can be. Smothering your ad with the cloying matter of monotheism, RAM? Bad move if you care about what secularists think of your brand. As for beer, I prefer Stella Artois.

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