MacNeil Automotive Products Ltd. put plastics manufacturing on the big stage, with a 30-second advertisement during the 2014 Super Bowl that was all about U.S.-based manufacturing.
The ad, dubbed "You Can't Do That," tells the story of how the company makes plastic automotive floor mats in Illinois, using "American raw materials, while hiring American workers," which skeptical imaginary bankers, construction workers and consumers say can't be done.
The commercial got a pretty good reception. Advertising Age's Ad Review gave the spot three stars, writing: "It's not a sexy ad. It's not a sexy product. What the hell is a floor-mat marketer doing in the Super Bowl? Making a name for itself, that's what. Without the help of a contest or gimmicks, WeatherTech and Pinnacle Advertising and Marketing, deliver a fairly solid ad.
"It might not scream SUPER BOWL, but it speaks to Americans' dreams of an actual Made in America product (rather than a designed or assembled in America one). The ad doesn't explain that it uses lasers to create floor mats to precisely fit your vehicle, but it does show the product and implies the possibility of employment for your fellow citizens. It's also an ad that won't look out of place in non-Super Bowl programming."
The Washington Post's Cindy Boren wasn't as taken with the effort, writing: "Did someone tell them they weren't allowed to make a funny Super Bowl commercial, too? Seems like they took that advice to heart."
The Twitter universe didn't exactly make MacNeil and WeatherTech go viral, but there were some fun mentions during the game:
The Real ACEDAD @billpresson15m wrote: "Bravo WeatherTech! Proud to say I just put their laser designed floor mats in my car and I love them!!"
Sweet Soaps Media @SweetSoaps15m wrote: "@WeatherTech you are awesome #MadeinUSA"
Elizabeth Plank @feministabulous14m wrote: "At least @WeatherTech knows that women in workplace exist. it's the first time that's been acknowledged so far tonight!"
But on the other end of the scale, Dan O'Keefe @okeefe15m wrote: "Crap - I clearly spent too much on our weathertech mats. Plastic car mats should not margin a Super Bowl commercial."
Interested in more information on MacNeil's plastics operations? Check out "MacNeil touts quality, US-made products," by Plastics News' Bill Bregar.
Or watch these additional videos by the company, titled "How we do it" and "Why we do it."