Ram Trucks' "Farmer" spot, by The Richards Group, featuring still photos of farmers over audio of a 1978 Paul Harvey speech to the FFA, is one of the most iconic Super Bowl commercials ever made. (Don't just take our word for it—five advertising pros recently reflected on the ad's power and poetry in their own eloquent words.)
Watch it again, seriously, it's pretty breathtaking:
Last year was the spot's fifth anniversary. To celebrate, Ram enlisted Nashville-based agency G7 and Denver-based creative production studio Motive Made Studios to honor the ad by reimagining it and taking it in a fresh direction.
The result was "Farmer In All Of Us," a content series that rolled out in stages between October and December. (The title itself was taken from the original spot's end line, "To the farmer in all of us.") It consisted primarily of three short documentaries featuring real farmers—nominated by FFA alumni and current members, and selected by Ram from hundreds of submissions—who've made an impact in their agricultural communities.
The famers were Grayce Emmick of Kentucky, Jake Ledoux of New York, and Arnold Pennoyer of Wyoming. Grayce's video is particularly compelling in its portrait of a young woman farmer, but all three are stirring and beautifully shot character studies.
Check them out here:
There was also a musical component to the campaign. Working with Universal Music Publishing Group, G7 helped to write and produce a custom track to accompany the mini-docs. It was recorded by Nashville-based country artist Easton Corbin. And in addition to the three docs, the campaign included a music video for the song, too.
G7 says the work is a beautiful representation of the modern American farmer that pays homage to the passion, commitment, integrity and authentic community that feeds our nation.
Wayne Leeloy, executive director of music and marketing strategy at G7, tells Muse that Corbin—himself a former FFA member—has been involved with the Ram brand since its 'Year of the Farmer' campaign in 2013.
"Easton has been a partner of Ram's since we launched the 'Next Crop' campaign, and over the years we've engaged him for a handful of initiatives," says Leeloy. "His personal history with the FFA and our existing relationship allowed us to close the circle and finish right where we started. There was comfort and familiarity with his ability to deliver on our vision, and he's been a great ambassador for the brand over the years."
Music has been an integral part of the brand's strategy over the last few years, Leeloy adds.
"It's helped them move from the safe, commercial channels of mainstream country to focus on great songwriters/storytellers who have been able to translate the brand's core pillars in a way that really brings content to life in a powerful way," he says.
Making the three short docs was an eye-opening experience, Leeloy says.
"One huge take-away for all of us was how amazing the people in these communities truly are," he says. "The farmers, ranchers and people who work and support the agricultural industry aren't just working jobs—they're living the lifestyle in its purest form. Young, old and everyone in between are absolutely committed to the land, their community and the sacrifices they make and live through on a daily basis so the rest of the country—and parts of the world—can saunter into their grocery store of choice and fill their baskets."
He adds: "It was a very humbling experience and we are truly honored to tell their stories. Thanks to the help from Motive Made Studios, our creative production partner. With them we were able to bring these stories to life in a way that we couldn't have done with a traditional production company."
Leeloy says the feedback to the work was extremely positive and reinforced the Ram brand commitment to the agricultural community. View counts exceeded expectations, mainly through organic distribution, and the fuller set of KPIs indicate nearly a 10x return on investment.