It’s rare that your breath’s taken away these days.
Very rare indeed.
You harden up fast.
Few things crack the shell.
But not last week.
For two spellbinding minutes I was breathless.
Captivated and touched.
By words written, narrated and pictorialised, to almost perfection.
They told the story of the farmer, to the farmer in us all.
I challenge you … to not be moved as well.
[If you can’t see the video player, try viewing it here.]
Now … that is brand storytelling.
Paul Harvey’s “God Made a Farmer” speech (originally delivered in 1978) has been transformed by Dodge RAM into a collective call-to-action to admire and respect the unsung hero, the farmer.
Tireless stewards of the land, the farmers’ selfless, foundational role in a country’s character is oft taken for granted.
The adverts timbre, folksy feel and heartfelt appeal captivated hearts across America, and the world. And because of that approach, the commercial rightly took the collective breath away from the Super Bowl’s hardened, commercialised television audience and has since been a source of online chatter.
My favourite excerpt – where the tears welled up:
“God said I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt and watch it die and dry his eyes and say maybe next year. I need someone who can shape an axe handle from a persimmon sprout, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire, make a harness out of hay wire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. And…who, at planting time and harvest season, will finish his forty hour week by Tuesday noon. Then, pain’n from “tractor back”, put in another seventy-two hours. So, God made a farmer.”
In a media release from Chrysler, the company explained:
“The “Farmer” commercial kicked off the brand’s 2013 “The Year of the Farmer” campaign “aimed at bringing national attention to the significance of the American farmer.”
Here’s the text of Paul Harvey’s original speech, made newly famous during the Super Bowl:
“And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, “I need a caretaker.” So God made a farmer.
God said, “I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper and then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board.” So God made a farmer.
“I need somebody with arms strong enough to rustle a calf and yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild. Somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry, have to wait lunch until his wife’s done feeding visiting ladies and tell the ladies to be sure and come back real soon — and mean it.” So God made a farmer.
God said, “I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt. And watch it die. Then dry his eyes and say, ‘Maybe next year.’ I need somebody who can shape an ax handle from a persimmon sprout, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire, who can make harness out of haywire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. And who, planting time and harvest season, will finish his forty-hour week by Tuesday noon, then, pain’n from ‘tractor back,’ put in another seventy-two hours.” So God made a farmer.
God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds and yet stop in mid-field and race to help when he sees the first smoke from a neighbor’s place. So God made a farmer.
God said, “I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bails, yet gentle enough to tame lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink-combed pullets, who will stop his mower for an hour to splint the broken leg of a meadow lark. It had to be somebody who’d plow deep and straight and not cut corners. Somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed and rake and disc and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk and replenish the self-feeder and finish a hard week’s work with a five-mile drive to church.
“Somebody who’d bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh and then sigh, and then reply, with smiling eyes, when his son says he wants to spend his life ‘doing what dad does.'” So God made a farmer.”
The only other thing I can say is … may there be more brand storytelling ads like this written, and made.
I’ll hang out in the comments, so please share your feelings on the advert, because I’m curious if you felt what I did.