Commentary: Why ag got excited about the Ram Truck ad
If you’re involved with agriculture, you’ve probably seen the Ram Trucks ad that ran during the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl, Feb. 3. The ad was titled “So God made a farmer” and featured legendary broadcaster Paul Harvey’s speech at the 1978 National FFA Convention along with a variety of images of rural America and the farming life and ended with the image of Ram Trucks.
Social media exploded with messages from those in agriculture supporting the ad and its message. The ad ranked as the third highest most favored ad from the Super Bowl, according to the USA Today’s ad meter results.
On Monday, Case IH announced its partnership with Ram Trucks to make donations to the FFA for the number of visits the ad receives online.
Agriculture and the agriculture media have praised the ad generously. But the enthusiasm goes beyond the fact that the ad was a fist-pump to agriculture.
Despite the fact that some have quibbled with particular images that were shown, which offered the stereotypical image of farmers that the industry and the agriculture media have been fighting against for many years, the ad was able to convey multiple positive messages about agriculture to a mainstream audience. There isn’t more mainstream than the Super Bowl and it’s built-in billions of people who watch.
In Paul Harvey’s unique style, he was able to convey the character needed in a farmer to do all the jobs needed to run a farm or ranch. The farmer must be willing to work long hours, be hard and strong and yet soft enough to take care of his family and meet those commitments. In the end, he has to be a good example to his family so that hopefully the next generation wants to do what farmers have been doing for centuries: Working hard to feed the world.
The ad was a great way to convey to urban America—a large percentage of those watching the Super Bowl—the depth of the commitment farmers make to working hard and producing food. The ad also stirred a sense of nostalgia for farming in America.
But of all the emotions the ad raised, the most important, was pride. Farmers rarely pat themselves on the back. This has been a public image problem for the industry because if the industry doesn’t celebrate its virtues, the public at large won’t know. This ad cleverly demonstrated the character, humbleness and pride of being a farmer.
This is an ad the majority of the ag industry can get behind and celebrate as a public image. What better time in agriculture’s history to reach such a large audience? The timing of it—during the Super Bowl, which is one of the biggest non-holiday food holidays in America—was brilliant. No one seemed to be expecting this ad. After the excitement of the power outage of the Superdome, Beyonce’s dramatic half time show and the 49s rallying to come from behind, the fourth quarter ad was as unexpected as it was touching. The two-minute ad captured America’s attention and its heart. For agriculture and rural America, it defined a way of life and affirmed the pride of a job that often goes unrecognized in our society.
As the world continues to struggle for producing enough food to meet the growing demand of the rising middle class globally, the ad was timed perfectly to remind everyone of the need for farmers.
For at least one moment in time, the ad reached a global audience and reminded the world that we need farmers, and that is something all of agriculture can be proud to support.