5 Super Bowl campaigns that grabbed ag’s attention

BEEF Daily Editor Amanda Radke recaps the best and the worst of the 2020 Super Bowl commercials.

Amanda Radke

February 3, 2020

4 Min Read

All eyes were on the Super Bowl, and in between a nail-biter game between the 49ers and the Chiefs, there were plenty of commercials ranging from very heartfelt to slapstick funny and a flashy halftime performance starring Latin pop stars Shakira and J Lo.

Naturally, social media was buzzing during the game, and whether you watched the program for the football, the ad campaigns or the big half-time performance, there was plenty to talk about.

Of course, I paid close attention to any ads that related to food and agriculture. I’ve wrapped up the good, the bad and the ugly, as well as a few that didn’t quite make the cut on national TV but are certainly worth mentioning

1. Doritos

Hands-down, Doritos wins the night for best commercial. Anytime you enlist the talents of Sam Elliott, you’re going to win the hearts and minds of rural Americans. It’s hard to beat Elliott’s deep, raspy voice, strong stature, classic mustache and rugged personality and appearance.

In contrast, watching Elliott have a dance-off to Lil Nas X, who sings the wildly popular song, “Old Town Road” with Billy Ray Cyrus, was downright hilarious.

I may not eat Cool Ranch Doritos, but I will remember this feel-good ad campaign that made a pretty neat connection between our western heritage and edgier urban culture.

Related:Nicely done, beef. You’re still king with consumers.

Way to go, Doritos!

2. Michelob Pure Gold

“Less than 1% of U.S. farmland is organic. What if we could change that simply by having a beer?” asks Michelob.

With every purchase of a six-pack of Michelob Pure Gold, the company promises to transition six square feet of farmland into organic production to make for a more sustainable world.

Virtue signaling at its finest, this campaign is as ridiculous as it is unrealistic. I’m not sure what’s going on with beer companies these days, but this campaign follows last year’s dud, when Bud Light promised to stop using corn syrup.

There’s nothing wrong with organic if it’s a production method that works for you, but the message of this campaign was clear — buy our beer and we’ll do our best to force a food revolution because farmers aren’t currently doing what’s best for people or the planet. No thanks.


Whether or not you agree with former NFL player Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the National Anthem, it is degrading to even consider that PETA tried to hijack his protests and use it to further their agenda of distorting animal welfare into the twisted world of animal rights, where the status of animals is heightened or greater than human beings.

Related:How can we really teach consumers about ag?

The NFL declined an ad that shows animals kneeling alongside Kaepernick with the message that our society should, “reject all forms of injustice, including sexism, ableism, racism, ageism, homophobia, and speciesism.

The 60-second ad, concludes with, “Respect is the right of every living being #EndSpeciesism.”

In a statement, PETA’s President Ingride Newkirk said, “Our patriotic Super Bowl spot envisions an America in which no sentient being is oppressed because of how they look, where they were born, who they love, or what species they are. It sends a message of kindness — one that the NFL should embrace, not silence.”

4. Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF)

This ad aired regionally and not during the national Super Bowl programming; however, CCF goes the low road route and uses the same fear mongering tactics that are so often used against the beef industry.

While I don’t like the mud-slinging back and forth because, I think beef, pork and chicken have the edge in all areas (environmental, nutritional and taste). I do admit I chuckled at the ad, which featured a kid trying to spell one of the ingredients in these plant-based products during a spelling bee.

According to CCF, “Plant-based meats are often ultra-processed and can have dozens of chemical ingredients. Fake meat manufacturers, however, like to tout the ‘healthiness’ of their products.

5. Impossible Foods

CCF’s ad campaign started a food fight, and it appears the gloves are now off in the competition to gain control of the meat case.

CNET reports, “In response to the Super Bowl spot, Impossible Foods posted a parody of it on YouTube in which a spelling bee contestant is given a much simpler word, ‘poop.’ The spelling bee pronouncer (played by Impossible founder Pat Brown) proceeds to define it as ‘the stinky brown stuff that comes out of your butt’ and that it's also ‘in the ground beef we make from cows.’”

What other ads did I miss? Which ones were your favorite? And which ones missed the mark? Share with me in the comments! I would love to hear your take.

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.

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