Why We Love Duck Dynasty So Much

duck dynastyI have developed quite the reputation among my friends and family for having what can only be described as “the worst taste in television in the history of the world.” To put it in perspective: I devoured every season of Jersey Shore and I cannot quit Grey’s Anatomy – no matter how terrible it has become.

My latest (greatest?) obsession? A&E’s Duck Dynasty, a show about a plucky batch of rednecks who own and operate a family business that builds and sells duck calls. Apparently, I am not alone in my obsession, as Duck Dynasty is the most successful show in the history of cable television.

Quack, Quack, Quack

Naysayers of the program cannot believe how successful this program has become. For those of you who have not yet come into the light of truth and reason, here is a quick overview of how the show works:

  • The Robertson family owns and operates Duck Commander in Monroe, Louisiana. What started as a backyard enterprise by family patriarch Phil Robertson has been grown and expanded by sons Willie, Jase and Jep Robertson. (There is a fourth son in there, Allan, but he is a preacher.)

  • The show follows a pretty formulaic plot: the business has a goal or project that it must accomplish, but the wacky and irreverent Jase and Uncle Si (a Vietnam veteran who has a bizarre attachment to a blue Tupperware cup) find new and exciting ways to derail the proceedings. Willie (the sensible one) gets upset and brings them all to heel. Over-enunciated and very southern interviews pepper the episode.

  • While the working members of the family avoid work, Phil and his wife Ms. Kay gallivant around their property. Sometimes they shoot beaver dams. Sometimes they buy a new washing machine. Always, Phil makes it very clear just how much he enjoys marital congress with his wife.

  • Every episode ends with a long shot of the entire family eating dinner while somebody prays.

Why We Love It

Admittedly, it is a strange thing with which to be obsessed. Even the Robertson family is puzzled by the success of the program. Still, something about the program speaks to the citizens of this fine nation. Although I am by no means an expert, here are a few of the reason why I think the show has been such a smash hit:

  1. While most reality television is all about drama and excessive alcohol consumption, Duck Dynasty involves hijinks and shooting four legged animals.

  2. The “pleasant and loving family” vibe that the show presents is either deeply familiar or truly aspirational for the majority of watchers.

  3. America is having a redneck moment.

The Takeaway

Obviously, there is something to the Duck Dynasty phenomenon. For marketers everywhere, the takeaway from the success of the program might be one of few things. First, family values will always win over American hearts. If you can market your product or service in the context of a loving family, working together to accomplish a goal, you may just win over the hearts of your prospective customers. Second, people enjoy watching/reading/listening to genuine characters. When you produce content, focus on being true to who you are, and people will like you better for it.

Do you watch Duck Dynasty?

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Elizabeth

A teacher by trade, Elizabeth LaBelle graduated with honors from the University of Michigan in 2011. After specializing in Political Science and Francophone Studies with a minor in Korean, the only tangible skill she can show for it is the ability to write in all three languages. Elizabeth never thought she would get paid to write in any language – but after four years washing dishes in an industrial kitchen and a year selling office supplies door-to-door, nothing surprises her. When she’s not writing or teaching, Elizabeth coaches high school debate and forensics. Her hobbies include thoroughbred racing, competitive pool playing and hunting for the perfect Chicago apartment.

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