It was a surprise when the television screen during the Super Bowl showed a pastoral farm image and the words "Paul Harvey." Then that iconic voice boomed into American homes during a new RAM truck ad that carried its fair share of iconic farm images and the theme "God Made a Farmer."
The social media sphere lit up - at least for aggies who use Twitter and Facebook - sharing their delight (on the whole) about the ad and its message. There is some concern that the word "plow" in these days of no-till might have been over-used and even the post-game FFA-focused campaign (more on that in a moment) using the phrase "Keep Plowing" that's getting a little negative buzz.
However, to see agriculture represented in the same space as Bud Light, Go Daddy and M&Ms, with a heartfelt ad that was seen by more than 170 million people isn't going to hurt. The images run the gamut from vintage tractors to modern farm equipment getting work done. Savvy viewers will note that all the equipment is in Case or Case IH livery due in part to the common ownership of RAM and Case IH (yep - Fiat).
In a press release issued Monday, Case IH notes it is teaming with sister brand RAM to declare 2013 the "Year of the Farmer."
"We’re pleased to collaborate on this exciting program that salutes the role of farmers throughout history, and also supports farmers of the future with its connection to FFA," Kyle Russell, Case IH senior director of marketing, said. "Ram Trucks has made this generous offer to donate to the FFA every time someone shares ‘The Year of the Farmer’ video and we want to make sure all of agriculture knows they have the opportunity to influence this donation."
The message was clear, God made a farmer to do the work that needs to be done. To tend the land and animals that we need to feed a nation, and the world. And the follow-on campaign will raise up to $1 million for FFA.
"The worldwide challenge of doubling food production in the next 30 years is going to take talented, motivated people who are committed to agriculture," Russell added. "The FFA does a great job of educating and developing leadership skills in young people interested in agriculture who have the potential to make a positive impact."
Essentially if you go to www.ramtrucks.com/en/keepplowing/ and share a badge from the site on your own social media page, RAM will make a donation to FFA. It’s a unique start.
Many folks will remember that last year the two-minute ad that ran featured a Clint Eastwood monologue and gained its own notoriety. This year's approach, linking hard-working trucks with hard-working farmers may or may not have resonated beyond the Midwest, but it was optimistic and positive.
Interestingly, Ford - a long-time supporter of FFA in its own right - joined the social media frenzy and noted it's participation. Whether that was a good idea remains to be seen. But in a world where a single $15-million-plus two-minute Super Bowl ad can have extended life on social media, at least among aggies RAM may have hit a home run.
You can watch the video below, but visit the link www.ramtrucks.com/en/keepplowing/ if you want to share that badge and help add $1 million to FFA for their national work.