Imagine, it is 1978, a convention hall in Kansas City, Missouri is filled with cowboy boots and corduroy jackets. It’s the 51st National Future Farmers of America (FFA) Convention, and thousands of high school students throughout the United States are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Paul Harvey, the legendary radio broadcaster. Now fast-forward to 2013, a living room is filled with football fans watching the Superbowl when the room goes silent and Paul Harvey’s name flashes on the screen. Viewers are mesmerized as the acclaimed broadcaster gets out his first words, “And on the eighth day…”. As the commercial fades to a black screen, the football fans are transported back to 1978 as the National FFA Organization’s emblem is placed on the screen underneath the Ram trademark. Ram’s “So God Made a Farmer” commercial was a successful campaign, connecting with America through detailed photographs and Paul Harvey’s monumental speech.
While most commercials display a video for viewers to enjoy, Ram chose to do something different – present a series of high-resolution photographs. Viewers are unaware of the commercial’s intent for quite some time. Instead of being concerned with who made the commercial, the audience is curious about the subjects of the pictures and how they correlate with the speech in the background. People see farmers covered in dirt, cattle awaiting feeding, the unloading of hay, children aspiring to be like their parents, and a family praying around the dinner table. To rural America, such as farmers, ranchers, and blue collar workers, these photos are showing the rest of the world what their everyday life looks like. Being high resolution, the photos show every detail, from every wrinkle to speck of dirt, giving insight to the amount of work a job on the farm requires.
When Ram’s trademark is shown it becomes aware that Ram subtly placed their pick-up trucks in the background of certain photos. In these photos, the product is being put to the ultimate test – keeping up with the American farmer. The Rams are being used to carry crates on a flatbed, act as a seat, carry hay for hungry cattle, hold straw as it is unloaded, and wait outside of confinement buildings. In photos showing people, there is a diversity of farmers and families; old and young men, women, children, and multiple ethnicities can be found. By showing the diversity of farmers and the variety of work they complete, it opens the audience up to more than just those on the farm.
The last photo Ram displays is one of their trucks in front of confinement buildings with, “To the farmer in all of us” written above. The hard work and dedication it takes to work and live on a farm also correlates into the daily lives of others throughout the world. Ram dedicates this commercial to those God chose to complete hard work in their lives. This commercial is for the ones who, “get up before dawn, strong enough to rustle a calf, yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild, will finish his forty hour week by Tuesday noon…then put in another seventy-two hours, and not cut corners.” These are the people whose children say, “[they] want to spend [their] life ‘doing what dad does’". The Ram Company didn’t just stop at instilling confidence in Americans, they continued to instill confidence in the National FFA Organization even thirty-five years after Paul Harvey’s speech was first given in Kansas City, Missouri.
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The “So God Made a Farmer” commercial was dedicated to making 2013, “the year of the farmer” and what better way to begin the year than supporting the FFA, an organization that specializes in teaching agriculture and leadership. Ram agreed to donate up to $1,000,000 to the FFA if the commercial could reach 10 million views online – it took less than one week to reach the goal due to the commercial being so popular. In October of 2013 at the National FFA Convention, Ram presented the National FFA President with a $1,000,000 check in front of a room filled with thousands of members in their corduroy jackets.
The commercial was seen as a chance to embrace the agricultural industry, inform the public of how vital American farmers are, and support the future of agriculture. Ram trucks appealed to consumers by seeing the trucks being used in hard-working and dirty jobs. The voice behind the pictures was recognizable from viewers growing up and listening to Paul Harvey on the radio. If there is a farmer in all of us, and farmers clearly put the truck to use, we can all use a new Ram truck…and that’s the rest of the story.