It’s been 10 years since the Super Bowl featured one of the most memorable advertisements of all time, “God Made a Farmer.” The ad, produced by The Richards Group, was a moving tribute to the hard-working men and women in the agriculture and ranching industry, and was designed to promote the Dodge truck brand.
As an agriculture photographer, I was thrilled 10 years ago when the Dallas-based ad agency asked to use one of my stock photos in their iconic Super Bowl advertisement. You can see the photo they wanted to use below. It is a photo of an abandoned church in Dooley, Montana at sunrise. My photo would be a great addition to the television advertisement, and I was eager to see it in the ad.
Despite signing a non-disclosure agreement and a contract with The Richards Group (alas, for a handsome sum of money), in the end, The Richards Group decided to go with a different photo from an award-winning National Geographic photographer instead. Shucks. Although I was disappointed, I understood the ad needed to feature the best possible images, and the photo they ended up using instead was exceptional. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.
Although I was initially disappointed (I shared my sorrow on the night the ad aired here on Facebook), I have come to see the missed opportunity as an important point in my career as a commercial photographer. It taught me that success doesn’t always come easy and that I need to continue working hard to achieve my goals. And even though my photo wasn’t selected for the “God Made a Farmer” ad, it brought me a modicum of recognition and helped convince me I should specialize in agriculture photography and rural photography.
I still wish that my photo had been selected. But I am grateful for the experience and the lessons I learned along the way. And even though I never got to see my photo in that ad, I am still buoyed by the fact that The Richards Group almost chose it, and I will always have the memory of what might have been.