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Manufacture This

The blog of the Alliance for American Manufacturing

The Made in America company promoted its new factory during the 30-second spot.

Auto accessories maker WeatherTech ran its fifth consecutive ad during the Super Bowl on Sunday, once again touting its committment to American manufacturing. This year, the Illinois company offered a look at the building of its new factory. You can check it out here:

WeatherTech ads are famously patriotic, promoting the company's American-made products and the American workers who help make them. But this one left us with questions: Where is this new factory? What will WeatherTech — most famous for its popular line of custom-made automotive floor mats — manufacture there?

We now have an answer: Pet bowls.

WeatherTech founder and CEO David MacNeil tells Forbes that while the company will expand floor mat production in the new factory, which is located adjacent to its existing facility in Bolingbrook, Ill., part of it will also be dedicated to making "high-quality, non-toxic, ergonomically correct pet bowls from all-American materials." 

"The main cause of canine death in America is cancer, and our job as dog owners and animal lovers is to make sure our dogs are eating non-toxic food from non-toxic bowls and drinking clean water," MacNeil said. "I saw an opportunity not only to help animals and also certainly create a niche in the market, to sell more products and employ more Americans and build another American factory."

One thing the ad isn't promoting: Immigration policy. Given the construction of walls in the 30-second spot, some viewers saw the ad as a reference to President Trump's plans to build a border wall with Mexico. But MacNeil told AdWeek that was not the intention. "Tying building a wall for a factory that will employ my fellow American citizens... [to] a proposed wall on the southern border with Mexico is absolutely ridiculous," he said. 

Super Bowl ads are notoriously expensive, but MacNeil said that it is worth the cost, as the company sees an uptick in traffic to its web site, phone center and network of distributors. And he's also proud to use it as a way to spread a bigger message.

"I was promoting American-made manufacturing well before it was popular," he told Forbes, later adding: "I'm very supportive of made-in-America and it should be a nonpartisan goal for everyone in the United States to support all American manufacturers."