I'm wondering if we need a new icon. This fall, the driest on record just about everywhere has brought along with it a rising number of combine and field fires across the country. While we all know the risks of running machinery this time of year, with climatologists saying this could be the new normal for harvest (or with La Nina on the way, perhaps the new normal is about a year long) do we need someone/something to keep us aware of a few simple tips to prevent trouble?
Come-on. That bear they found in Capitan, New Mexico all those years ago after the forest fire who because the first Smokey the Bear (yes there was a real bear to start that story) has become an icon. In fact when you read "Smokey the Bear" your brain automatically probably said (in that deep voice) "Only you can prevent forest fires." And I'll be you know how to keep a campfire from starting a forest fire too - thanks to that campaign.
Or how about that owl - lesser known - but if you give a hoot, don't pollute.
And consider the power of bigger ad icons. The Leo Burnett agency was the creator of many - Tony the Tiger (They're GREEAAAT!) and Snap, Crackle and Pop (more than a sound, they're people too - very little people), and more. Our friends at Michelin Ag Tire have the benefit of having Bibs - the chubby tire being - as an icon (and yes that's his name).
And don't get me started on those ribbons - red, pink, teal, yellow - they're everywhere.
Sure the combine fire problem isn't always every year - but it is always a risk. Most often it's dangerous - to the machine for sure - and there are ways to prevent. But what could the icon be to help you remember those simple tips.
Here are a few ideas…just some thoughts.
A giant ear of corn? Probably not so good - it's his chaff that's the cause of the fire (same issue with a living soybean pod).
An elf farmer - elves are popular (not sure about Snap, Crackle and Pop), we love them at Christmas, so a "combine elf" - which is better than a combine gremlin we already have plenty of those at harvest time.
Living combine - slogan might be weird - "I want to keep cool?" or "Keep it cool" - he'd be beefy, but then you'd have to decide what color he'd be. Don't even go there.
Perhaps you have an idea - you can comment below anonymously (so your friends won't know it's your idea) - and if you have your own combine fire story you could share it too. Hopefully no one was hurt.
Here are some tips for avoiding trouble (thanks to the University of Minnesota):
Keep equipment clean.
Maintain the exhaust system in good working order
Carry at least one, if not two, fire extinguishers (combines are big after all) in case trouble does strike
Keep your cell phone, or radio handy, in case of trouble
And don't risk yourself to save the combine - if you can't get ahead of it, get away from the fire. That's what insurance is for (and perhaps that would be good too - make sure you're machinery insurance is up to date).
Enjoy the rest of the harvest, hopefully trouble free. And share your ideas below.