Locally Laid fowl ready for national spotlight

Some Minnesota chickens are one step away from getting their own Super Bowl ad.

The 2,500 or so hens, all named Lola, live and lay at the Locally Laid Egg Company in Wrenshall, Minn. Their owners, Jason and Lucie Amundsen, uploaded a video about their pasture-raised workforce to the “Small Business/Big Game” contest. So did about 15,000 other small businesses around the country.

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The contest, sponsored by software company Intuit, will award a professionally-produced 30-second commercial to four finalists. The winning company’s commercial will air during the 2014 Super Bowl — one of the world’s most sought-after and expensive advertising venues.

The Wrenshall Lolas found out last week that they made the finals after Intuit employees selected their video as one of the best. In a blog post, Lucie Amundsen described the “California folks” who pulled up to the farm on a rainy/muddy day last week to deliver the good news:

We saw what looks like an entourage coming down the dirt road. It was big black Escalade, a Prius, a couple of sedans and… a limo? Yes, Locally Laid saw its first limousine. Apparently, the crew was staging at the Wrenshall Quick Mart store. (I don’t think the people there bought their cover story that they were filming a hunting video.)

When I say crew, I mean camera crew. Four or five men and women with hefty cameras came out, along with someone wielding an enormous boom mike. There were also really beautifully dressed Californians wearing brand new high rain boots and a few had rain ponchos. (The camera crew had no boots and I’m pretty sure all of them had to throw out their sneakers after the event.)

The fate of the fowl’s football fame is now in the hands of the general population of Internet users, who can vote daily at the contest website.

Whether the Lolas win or lose, Jason Amundsen told MPR’s Tom Crann that he hopes coverage of the contest will spark a conversation about sustainable farming practices. He said the debate in congress over a California law requiring better conditions for hens laying eggs sold there (MPR’s Brett Neeley covered this yesterday) indicates consumers want more say over how their food is produced.

Listen to the whole interview: