The infamous Dodge commercial and a question

Like most – if not all – of you, we really loved the Dodge Super Bowl commercial “So God Made a Farmer.”

Paul Harvey’s speech explains the beauty, struggle, and blessings farmers live every day. Even more so, it aired during the single most watched event of the entire year.

Millions of people watched that ad, folks. Millions of people heard those words and have a little better understanding of what it means to be a farmer. Millions heard Dodge declare 2013 the year of the farmer.

That is priceless.

More than that, Dodge is donating up to $1 million to FFA’s hunger prevention programs based on the amount of online interaction with the commercial. (Updated: An article in the Detroit News explains the donation schedule.)

In researching the overall project, I came across www.ramtrucks.com/keepplowing. It’s the website for the project. There you learn about Paul Harvey, the voice over for the commercial, the great things FFA is doing, and Farms.com (where a similar video started).

I scrolled over the “badges” where you can share the video on social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter. Catchy messages jumped out, encouraging people to share their support.

“I’m proud to be a farmer.”
“I’m proud to love a farmer.”
“I’m proud to stand with farmers.”
“I’m the rooster’s alarm clock.”
“My other truck is a tractor.”
“The farm is my playground.”

Hmmm…. a playground?

The farm safety advocate in me threw red flags.

The farm is a fantastic place to raise kids. It provides them with a natural atmosphere to foster imagination, respect, sympathy, and a solid work ethic. Much of that learned through adventure and play.

But (you knew it was coming…)

The farm is also a work site. Many farm safety advocates feel encouraging people to view the farm as playground trivializes the dangers present on the job.

What do you think? Should the idea of the farm as a playground be avoided OR are safety advocates getting bent out of shape over simple word choice?

Let us know in the comments!

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About Farm Safety For Just Kids

Farm Safety For Just Kids is a non-profit organization devoted to promoting a safe farm environment to prevent health hazards, injuries, and fatalities to rural children and youth. We produce and distribute educational materials addressing various dangers commonly found in the rural environment. Farm Safety For Just Kids is supported by a chapter network of grassroots volunteers located throughout the United States and Canada. The organization also has part-time outreach coordinators in several states. Chapters, outreach coordinators, and volunteers conduct educational programs to raise awareness about safety and health issues affecting their communities.
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3 Responses to The infamous Dodge commercial and a question

  1. Sara says:

    Safety advocates are over doing it a little. It’s good to raise awareness however, most children who live on farms already know the dangers and know where it okay to play and not play.

  2. Nicole H. says:

    The word ‘playground’ catches me off-guard, too. I don’t know if it’s us getting bent out of shape over a single word, or if it’s because it does trivialize the hazards. I think, realistically, that it’s more ‘us’ getting bent out of shape as from my experience, farms are where people typically live, work and play.

    Playground doesn’t have to be in the literal sense of swinging from items and horsing around, but rather it is where people ride their horses, take the quad out on a sunny day, zip around the field on the snowmobile, take their grandkids for walks to watch the birds in the coulee, fix go-karts in the shop with their kids, etc. It doesn’t mean to ‘play’ while the work is being done, but I think it’d be a slippery slope to try to talk people into NOT enjoying their rural spaces because it’s a worksite (and you wouldn’t engage in recreation in a construction zone?)… I think it’s all about selecting the right time and place.

    I live in a city now, but would give anything to be back to living with some elbow room.

    • If I were being honest, I think it’s safety advocates over thinking it as well. But I also have to wonder if over thinking it doesn’t have its place as well. It might be extreme, but everyone needs a reminder once in awhile. Is it the role of safety advocates to offer that perspective? But in doing so, we’re often seen as the “nay-sayers.” It’s a catch 22.

      I’m really curious to hear what producers think. Though I suspect they’d say we’re just being too sensitive.

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