In the Smithsonian National Museum of American History's new American Enterprise exhibit, you can find corn industry advertising alongside other classic pieces of U.S. agriculture and business history.
One of the ads, part of a series sponsored by the Corn Farmers Coalition, has been running in various forms for the past seven years. It appears in the Mars Hall of American Business alongside such pieces of advertising iconography as the Marlboro Man and images from the Morton's Salt "When It Rains It Pours" campaign.
Smithsonian curator Peter Liebhold said the ad was a natural choice for the 8,000-square-foot exhibit, a comprehensive look at American History as seen through business.
"This corn growers' campaign is visually really striking and tells a great story," Liebhold said. "It's really a representation of modern advertising."
According to Chip Bowling, National Corn Growers Association president, the campaign first started when research indicated most of the Washington audience didn't think family farmers existed anymore, "even though they grow 90% of the nation's corn," Bowling said.
"When they learned the facts it opened their eyes to who owns and farms the land and how these multi-generational farmers are embracing change to become the most productive and efficient in the world."
To mark the occasion and focus on this summer's campaign, a dozen farmers hosted a tour of the American Enterprise exhibit and a special Farm-to-Table dinner at the museum on July 8.
Attendees included by a broad array of Washington leadership representing elected officials, government agencies, environmental groups, think tanks and the media.
"Having this campaign on display in an institution like the Smithsonian validates the investment of farmer's corn checkoff dollars to tell their story to this key audience of Washington decision makers," Bowling said. "It also amplifies our message and will be a constant reminder to the 2.3 million people expected to visit the exhibit annually for the next 20 years."