Ram Trucks "God Made A Farmer" by Richards Group (2013)
With the commercials industry in virtual shutdown, here's another ad we've known and loved before. Ironically, this is one ad that could actually still be made under the current lockdown since it's assembled entirely from archive content. But what content that is! And compiled with such skill. It is of course Richards Group's stunning Super Bowl spot for Fiat Chrysler's Ram Trucks. Now this writer is about as far from being a religious man as you could get; yet this spot would certainly make my list of Best 20 - maybe even Best 10 - ads of the past decade. It draws the bulk of its power from the soundtrack, the recording of a widely celebrated speech - more like a prose poem, in fact - by the conservative radio commentator Paul Harvey to the 1978 Future Farmers of America convention. Whether or not you agree with his political views, Harvey was unmatched as public speaker, famed for the rhetorical skills - repetition, extended pauses, folksy observations and poetic imagery - that are deployed here with such immense effect. That soundtrack is enhanced by the stunning montage of images of American farmers at work and in repose. The ad caused some controversy at the time, not for its religious overtones, but because it was very similar in style to an earlier (though less polished) commercial by agricultural news publisher Farms.com that had also used the same Harvey speech. Yet Farms.com gave their full endorsement to the Richards version, as well as Ram's offer to donate $1m to the Future Farmers association for the first 10m views the ad received on YouTube. It hit that target in just a single week. Fiat Chrysler have tried to achieve the same impact with subsequent montage ads for Ram, and also for sister brand Jeep, but without the supporting platform of Harvey's words, none has managed to equal this ad's quiet but devastating power.