What does a 2,500-chicken egg farm in northeastern Minnesota have in common with the Super Bowl?
Nothing yet. But that could change.
The Locally Laid Egg Co. of Wrenshall, Minn., whose slogan is “Local chicks are better,” is one of four finalists for a 30-second spot in the advertising mecca that surrounds the NFL title game early next year.
The contest is sponsored by Intuit, the small-business software company, which is conducting an online poll to determine a winner. The prize is exposure to more than 100 million viewers in an advertising spot valued at about $4 million. Voting started Monday and concludes Dec. 1. The finalists can be found at smallbusinessbiggame.com.
Jason Amundsen and his wife, Lucie, operate the Locally Laid Egg Co., which features pasture-raised chickens in a process designed to produce eggs that are lower in cholesterol and fat.
They also have an egg operation in Iowa that serves the Twin Cities and plan on opening a third farm shortly.
All the attention is heady stuff for a native of Edina who entered the egg business just over a year ago after successive jobs as a grant writer for nonprofit organizations were eliminated.
“I told my wife if we wanted some sort of stability we would have to step out on a limb,” Amundsen said in a telephone interview Tuesday.
Amundsen credited a grandfather who could fix anything plus his own stint in the U.S. Army as inspiration for his foray into egg farming.
“Growing up in the suburbs you don’t have an appreciation for the manual skills needed to do this,” he said.
On his video, which was produced by Duluth videographer Beau Walsh, Amundsen is shown sitting in a fenced-in pasture with dozens of hens foraging around him.
“Our hens are all named Lola,” Amundsen says to the camera. “That’s right, she’s a sassy chicken.”
Exposure during the Super Bowl would be huge for both Locally Laid Egg and Intuit, said Mike Caguin, chief creative officer for the Minneapolis ad agency Colle+McVoy.
“It provides credibility with customers and consumers and instant awareness,” Caguin said. “It gives you 108 million viewers and a little fame.”
The Locally Laid Egg Co. is not the first Minnesota outfit to have a shot at a Super Bowl commercial. In 2010, Twin Cities filmmakers Ben Krueger and Cole Koehler won $25,000 from Doritos for their 30-second ad called “Snack Attack Samurai.” In 2012, local filmmakers Eric Sturm, Michael Yamerchk and Erik Sudheimer made the final cut but not the Super Bowl for their lighthearted Chevrolet “Everyday Hero” ad.
For all the attention Amundsen has received in the past week — “It’s been staggering” — he said he hopes that a message accompanies his farm’s sudden fame.
“We’re the underdog in this race but it gives us the opportunity to get more small and midsize companies producing food for their local communities,” said the 41-year-old farmer.