If you watched Super Bowl XLVIII in the Midlands region of the Palmetto State, chances are you saw a niftily produced advertisement for the South Carolina State Ports Authority (SCSPA).

The ad – which ran before the start of the second half – starred Columbia, S.C. shoe maven Gwen Rawls, whose stylish, sexy imported kicks have been featured on FITS several times in the past.

“I’m importing very rare and exclusive materials,” Rawls says in the spot. “That’s what makes the Port of Charleston such a great business partner for me.”

Somebody needs to tell that to Gov. Nikki Haley, right?

Not surprisingly we received a ton of feedback on this ad from our Midlands, S.C. network … so we figured we’d do a little digging on the ad (in keeping with our taxpayer protection efforts).

First, here’s the spot …

(Click to play)

Not bad, not bad …

And no, it’s not at all lost on us that the SCSPA would run an ad in our founding editor’s home market, during a game featuring his longtime man-crush Peyton Manning, starring one of his favorite people in the world (Rawls) and … just to top things off … featuring numerous shots of insanely attractive women’s shoes.

Yeah, someone has clearly done their homework as to what motivates this “unfair, imbalanced” website …

Anyway, port officials tell FITS the Super Bowl spot – which ran once on WACH TV 57 (FOX – Columbia, S.C.) – cost $15,500.  And if you liked it, you’ll be seeing it again as a “full campaign” for the Midlands region of the state is likely to kick off in the next three to four weeks.

The cost of that campaign? Roughly $300,000.

First launched in 2012, the “Our Ports, Our Jobs” campaign first appeared in the Upstate – and it will eventually make its way to the Lowcountry region of the state. When all is said and done, the total cost for the rolling campaign (production expenses and television time in the state’s three major markets) will be in the neighborhood of $1 million.

Now … is this tax money? Not technically. It is money taken from the SCSPA’s corporate accounts, which are funded by port customers (like Rawls). Of course taxpayers do fund port infrastructure … so it might as well be a taxpayer expense, right?

We think so …

Obviously we don’t believe government should be in the business of running a port. That’s a job for the private sector, in our opinion. But we’re not going to get terribly exercised over this expense … especially in light of other, much more egregious port-related sins.