The Farmer’s Dog was rated Best Super Bowl Commercial by USA TODAY Ad Meter
Boutique dog food has carved itself into the hearts of the most discerning viewers of Super Bowl commercials.
The Farmer’s Dog, which started less than a decade ago as a fresh food alternative to mass-produced pet food, won USA TODAY’s 35th Ad Meter contest as a chocolate lab and a girl who loved him, a 60-second journey through life ventures seems to prepare the viewer for a shattering conclusion.
But the pup – they call him Bear – lives on as young protagonist Ava navigates through childhood, college and having a child of her own.
Bear is always on board, ostensibly because Ava’s family had the foresight to feed him a higher prize than the ultra-processed kibbles his competitors produce.
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The emotional spot, titled “Forever,” which is carried by soul singer Lee Field’s 2022 single of the same name, scored 6.56 out of 10 when Ad Meter viewers voted to watch all 51 commercials to evaluate what made The Farmer’s Dog a winner in its Super Bowl promotional debut.
It referenced the NFL’s “Run With It” commercial, which celebrated women and flag football and scored 6.38. Amazon’s “Saving Sawyer,” a story about an unruly dog and a mail-order colleague who could calm him down, scored 6.35, earning Amazon’s third top three spot in as many years.
Celebrity endorsers in familiar territory rounded out the top five, with consummate New Englander Ben Affleck’s Dunkin’ spot (6.34) and Breaking Bad’s reunion by Aaron Paul, Bryan Cranston and Raymond Cruz, the pop corners in the New England desert Mexico produced (6.26), finishing fourth and fifth, respectively.
Fine products all, but who would have thought that premium food for man’s best friend was the magic formula?
Founded in 2014, Farmer’s Dog points out that even so-called premium croquettes are made to “feed” standards or unfit for humans, and some are processed by sick, disabled, dying and dead animals.
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That won’t do for Bear and his friends. The Farmer’s Dog says its recipes consist of human-grade meat and whole vegetables, lightly cooked. They are supplied to the consumer in pre-portioned packs to avoid overfeeding and the potential health risks associated with it.
Healthy eating doesn’t come cheap; A January analysis by PetKeen estimates that monthly food bills can range from $42 for small dogs to more than $500 for the largest. The larger goal, according to co-founder and CEO Jonathan Regev, is for “real food to become the dog food standard.”
On that Super Bowl night, when ads on Fox’s 30 Seconds match broadcast brought in a record $7 million, the burgeoning dog food company found itself on a different industry standard.