Farmer Super Bowl Commercial: Reflections

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?

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21 thoughts on “Farmer Super Bowl Commercial: Reflections

  1. I was reminded that this country was founded by the kind of hard work and perseverance of the farmer. Indeed, firearms were needed to get us past Plymouth Rock, but once beyond it, farmers were the ones to make it worth our while to remain and continue the on going fight against both mother nature and the soil! That is the very fighting spirit this country was built on and by. It is also the kind of mind set needed by the Christian; we need to be willing to fight in a new and strange place, willing to persevere in the times when all seem to be stacked against us and trust the outcome to One Greater than ourselves. Just a thought.
    Twitter: bryankr

  2. Ron and Jason,
    Thanks for the thoughts on this commercial: it was the only one that I thought stood out among the rest. Considering the crassness of the "GoDaddy" commercial and the slew of other ads that tended to poke mean spirited fun at people who were obese (and then we are amazed that kids are bullied in schools for any number of "differences"…wonder why?!), the Farmer commercial by Dodge was a welcome change. I come from a family of teachers, who were farmers first, and chose teaching as their other job so they could farm in the summers, teach in the winters and just perhaps, make enough money between the two to raise a family. The commerical embodies the characteristics of the farmers in my family, and while "warm and fuzzy" doesn't always describe them, this commericial paid tribute and said it better than I ever could. Wish there would have been more commercials like it, and a lot less of the others. Glad to know I was not the only one touched.

  3. I grew up in rural Kansas, working on a farm. I loved Paul Harvey news for years, especially his sonorous voice. I think the traits pulled out by Jason in his guest post are good and we would all to well to emulate those traits, in whatever field of endeavor. So I did like it, yes, but only as an ad. ON THE OTHER HAND, farming (by and large) is quite different from what was displayed in the Ad. Very, very different. But even when it wasn't I knew some farmers that you would not have liked in the least. Some of the wealthy ones were incredibly self-centered and could be very disingenuous. Some of the "bad" ones were lazy and didn't respect the land they farmed, caring little for soil conservation. Some of the most independent ones were mean and opinionated. Many, of course, were A+. So come on, folks. Let's be realistic here. Was it an amazing commercial? Ah, it was a super-bowl television ad. Writing about it like I am doing right now is exactly what the Dodge Truck people had hoped for. If you preach on next Sunday,they'll even be happier. … As they say so well in AA meetings: "People… People, Take what you like and leave the rest." Breathe deeply, friends, it was just an super bowl ad. 🙂

  4. As I saw this amazing commercial, I couldn't help but think about how all of us as Christians are to be able to sow whatever God enables us with into the lives of everyone that God brings into our lives. Thanks for the amazing post Jason! God bless you!