Dodge's Super Bowl commercial easily struck a cord with farmers across the U.S. But average Americans found a way to relate, too.
by Lucas Sjostrom, contributing editor
"On the 8th day," Paul Harvey begins, "God looked down on his planned paradise and said, I need a caretaker.'"
With that, my Super Bowl party fell silent. Did yours?
If you grew up a farmer, it was wonderful. It was tear-jerking. It was revolutionary.
It's a start.
Finally, the farm is getting the press it deserves. As we shared on Facebook, last November Madison Magazine (Wis.) named The Dairy Farmer as its person of the year. In December 2011, Phil Lempert, the self-proclaimed Supermarket Guru, said that we were ending the Celebrity Chef period and proceeding to the Celebrity Farmer era. He may have been just a year early. This year he again insisted that America would grow to love our farmers for the sake of transparency.
As I looked at Facebook on my mobile phone just seconds after the Dodge Ram commercial aired, the reviews (nearly all "farmer" friends) were unanimous that it was the best commercial of 2013, and maybe the best of all time. The spot, filled with dramatic still pictures of farmers mostly ranchers ends with a picture of a truck in front of hog barns and a quote, "For the farmer in all of us."
(By the way, Dodge is donating up to $1 million to FFA based on the views its commercial receives on YouTube, so take another watch.)
But my friends aren't the average consumer. Did Dodge make connections with Joe the Plumber, John Q. Public or Jane Q. Taxpayer?
Lucky for us (and Dodge), the average consumer loved it, too. This morning, I saw many more friends some of whom with no known connection to agriculture besides eating chime in with the respect they had for the commercial. USA Today's online poll placed the spot third, with a piece featuring a young Budweiser Clydesdale and his trainer at the top. The Wall Street Journal noted that farmers may not be the real target at all, and the closing "in all of us" line speaks to that.
Poll after poll indicates that Americans trust and adore farmers. I think the advertisement proves that we can take better advantage of this love, and turn the tide on who rules in terms of legislation, regulation and education. Some of the initial education we need to communicate is how farmers utilize technology, including trucks.
God made us farmers, and we now have the tools to become advocates. Dodge gave us a good start, now share your life's work and farm's story via social media, with local organizations and through your daily interactions. If you need help, see how the experts are doing it at the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance. Your son or daughter may not have the opportunity to farm if we can't explain why we do what we do and need what we need. That part wasn't in the commercial. But the fact that it's been a while since we've seen this type of farm advocacy should tell you there is much work to do.
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