Did you see the Ram Trucks advertisement that ran during the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl? You know what I’m talking about; the one featuring legendary broadcaster Paul Harvey’s speech given at the 1978 National FFA Convention along with a variety of images of farms and farmers. In the days since I, along with nearly 114 million people including more than 46% of households in this country saw the ad, it seems that everyone with any connection to agriculture has voiced an opinion about it. I love living in a country where everyone who has an opinion is free to express such, but I am floored by the number of harsh critics who have spoken out against the advertisement.
I’m jumping on the opinion bandwagon.
As someone else said about those with a negative response to the ad, you have to wonder why, when we are given lemonade, we have to turn it into lemons.
Was the ad a clear depiction of every aspect of today’s agriculture and rural America? No. It would be impossible to do that in 2 minutes. Yet, for 120 very public seconds, American agriculture held every viewer in the palm of her hand. People who have never been on a farm actually connected with the people who grow their food.
Some critics of the ad pointed out that because Paul Harvey had been a supporter of animal rights and animal welfare groups, using his voice was an affront against agriculture. Most of the 114 million people watching the Super Bowl have no idea that Paul Harvey was a supporter of animal rights and animal welfare groups. But they know his voice and it drew them in to listen to the story and to see the images of farmers and farm families.1
For two minutes, agriculture was united. I didn’t have to sit and listen to conventional vs. organic or big vs. small. It was a clear and poignant message and it made viewers feel good and appreciative about the people on the farms in this country. It made most of us on farms and ranches in this country proud of who we are and what we do. It made us proud of our past and hopeful for our future.
Of course there were also the complaints that the advertisement was, well, an advertisement. Chrysler was trying to sell Ram trucks. It was a COMMERCIAL, folks. I think it’s pretty amazing that any major corporation recognizes the important role not only of farming and ranching, but of farmers and ranchers. For at least one moment, a global audience was reminded that America’s farmers and ranchers are relevant.
And if Chrysler sells a few Ram trucks, I say good for them. Advertisements in the Super Bowl aren’t cheap.