I couldn’t get past the “Farmer” commercial during the Super Bowl. My grandfather on my mother’s side lived in Kansas. He died when I was young, but I’ve always lived somewhat in his shadow…he was a hero of mine. Everything I knew about him was captured in that commercial. If you missed it, or want to see it again, watch it now.
A good friend…and a great leader…Jason Cummins sent me his thoughts on the commercial.
Here is a guest post from Jason reflecting on the commercial:
The Super Bowl was last night, and as always, my wife and I looked forward to the commercials. However, I’m not one to go online and view them ahead of time. I feel the precise broadcast time establishes context, and thus is an important part of the overall experience.
As we entered the second half, I was a bit disappointed. No croaking frogs, dive-bombing pigeons, or office linebacker sightings. Rather, Madison Avenue seemed content to reflect our culture’s status quo…a preference for short-term gratification over long-term reward.
Then entered what will be referred to today as simply, “The Farmer” commercial. Narrated by one of my all-time favorites, Paul Harvey, the ad immediately transported me back to my childhood, riding on the bench seat of the family roadster or huddled around the single, family radio in my grandparents’ house.
But it wasn’t merely the voice that made the commercial so powerful. Rather, it was the verbal content and the accompanying deep, pictorial images. Americans respect farmers, and the farmer was extolled for his virtuous characteristics. As I rewatched the commercial this morning, I pulled the five following traits from the rich narrative. These resonate with our souls, for deep down, we respect them, desire them, and want to be led by those who embody them:
1. Disciplined work ethic. He is willing to get up before dawn, work all day, finish his 40-hour week by Tuesday noon, and then work another 72 hours. He isn’t afraid of hard work. He is hard work.
2. Selfless. He attends school board meetings, applies first aid, and willingly attends to the needs of others before himself.
3. Competent. He can shape an axe handle, shoe a horse, or make a harness out of scrap. He knows his trade and confidently, yet humbly, goes about doing his work.
4. Compassion. He sits up with an ailing colt and splints the leg of a meadowlark. He heart is attune to his surroundings, and he is willing to do something about it.
5. Character. He plows deep and straight and will not cut corners. He will choose the harder right over the easier wrong. He works for good.
And then the commercial concludes with, “To the farmer in all of us.” Much like a good class, the ad not only made us think, but it also made us feel. And in the process, it reminded us of important characteristics we should all aspire to emulate. May each of us live a little more like a FARMER today.
Who do you think of when you watch that commercial?