You probably saw it Sunday night during the big game. And if you didn’t see it during the big game, you saw it on Facebook, Twitter or even yesterday morning when Good Morning America ranked it the No. 1 Super Bowl commercial.
Heck, hundreds of millions of people have seen it. And because of it, mentions of “farmer” on Facebook increased 1.8 million percent after the commercial aired.
I’m talking about the Dodge RAM commercial — “So God Made a Farmer.”
It was a powerful spot with powerful imagery, words and sentiments. But, there’s more to the story — at least for me.
Narrated by the iconic Paul Harvey, the spot tugged on the heartstrings of people across the country — aggies and non-aggies alike.
For me, it tied a hundred things I love together in one neat, 2-minute package.
It brought back memories of Sunday morning before church, staggering down to the kitchen, finding my dad getting ready for church, making my sister and I breakfast, and listening to Paul Harvey on the radio.
My dad died when I was a senior in high school and, when that happens, you hang on to Sunday morning memories — memories like that — for dear life because they’re the only little pieces you have left and you can’t bear to lose them or to forget.
But, it wasn’t just those Sunday morning memories. That poem that Paul Harvey recited with so much conviction and care was recited during Paul’s speech at the 1978 National FFA Convention.
Memories of my dad and FFA wrapped up in one commercial? Can it get any better? Why, yes, it can.
The commercial was more than a memory of Sunday mornings or hours on a bus, traveling to conventions and contests. It was a statement on the American farmer and agriculture. It was a statement about me and my family and my friends.
And that statement was made before a record-setting television broadcast, reaching tens of millions of people.
Those of us that are involved in agriculture today know there are those that support us and those that are against us — and those that don’t know in which camp to pitch their tents.
But this commercial gave farmers, farm families and agriculture an added, national voice. In today’s complicated food culture, it could be just the nudge consumers need to reach out to farmers and ask questions about biotechnology, animal care, pesticides or conservation practices. And it just might be the nudge farmers need to step up and answer those questions in a thoughtful and honest manner.
In the end, the commercial provided a national stage for farmers and consumers across the country. It wasn’t speaking only to the 2 percent of Americans that farm or the 98 percent of Americans that don’t. As the commercial itself said, it was speaking to the farmer in all of us.
And, because the commercial wasn’t cool enough to begin with, the ad is serving as a fundraiser of sorts. Each time the ad is shared or watched, Dodge will donate money to the National FFA Organization — an organization that has been charged with shaping future leaders for 85 years — up to $1 million. If you ask me, that’s just a cherry on top of an already delicious sundae.
And that, my friends, is the rest of the story.