'The Rock,' America's New Milkman
Milk does a body good. But Americans aren't buying it ... literally. We've "got" less "milk" according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Does milk need a super hero? Enter Dwayne Johnson, aka "The Rock," America's new milkman.
Per capita consumption of milk has fallen 23 percent since 1975. This is happening as the milk industry struggles to make a profit, and as the government predicts dairy prices will rise faster than overall food inflation this year.
Johnson was hired by the group behind those milk mustache ads, the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), for its very first Super Bowl commercial. Milk is spilling a lot of cash on the project, hoping to convince a football audience used to beer and soda ads to fall in love again with a beverage from childhood. (Read More: For Super Bowl Ads, It's Viral or Go Home.)
So, to paraphrase The Rock's most famous line, can you smell what the milkman's cooking?
I went behind the scenes to find out as the commercial was filmed in Long Beach, California, earlier this month. (Read More: Got Milk? Friday Night Lights' Peter Berg on Directing Super Bowl Ad.)
"We want to own the Super Bowl," Johnson told me during a break in the action (one scene included him running by a real lion).
Super Bowl ads can make a star even more popular when they're a hit (Britney Spears with Pepsi), and nothing hurts more than when an ad is penalized as out of bounds (Timothy Hutton's Groupon commercial making light of Tibet). (Read More: Twitter Ups Its Game in Super Bowl Ads.)
When I asked Johnson why he wanted to risk playing in the ultimate ad game Sunday by teaming up with milk instead of, say, Pepsi or Bud Light, he said, "Not only do our brands fit, but also it comes down to family."
I interviewed Johnson before the Ravens beat the Patriots to go to the Super Bowl, but even then, he was rooting for Baltimore. Watch the first clip above to find out why. (Read More: The Making of Tiffany's Super Bowl Trophy.)
In the second video clip, a different sort of behind the scenes, a slice of what TV news is really like.
After my interview ended with The Rock, I awkwardly convinced him to stand there and take off his jacket so I could tape what we call "a tease," you know, when the reporter says on camera, "Coming up, blah blah blah."
Emphasis here is on the "blah blah blah" — I had a little trouble spitting out my words. Perhaps it was because his biceps were the size of my thighs, and that's no small thing. (Read More: What Falling Milk Prices Say About an Economic Slowdown)
Watch Jane's behind-the-scenes report Friday, Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. ET on "CNBC Sportsbiz: Game On" on the NBC Sports Network.
—By CNBC's Jane Wells; Follow her on Twitter: @janewells