Using Facebook, John Deere feeds the hungry and sets Guinness record

The manufacturer of tractors and other farming equipment is donating more than 300,000 cans of food to an Illinois food bank thanks to a social media push. Oh, and it’s selling a new combine model.

The can combine, at 300,000-plus cans, is the largest canned food sculpture ever built, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. And soon, all those cans will be going to the local food bank in Moline, Ill.

The campaign has bolstered John Deere’s reputation as a company that aims to bring together farmers, the land they work, and communities, says Richard Williamson, project manager for art direction with John Deere’s Ag and Turf Division. And Moline isn’t where it’s going to end.

A long time in the making

John Deere’s been helping farmers and communities for nearly a century, Williamson says. During the Great Depression, the company would provide equipment to farmers and tell them to pay whenever they could.

“Those sorts of things go on all the time,” says Williamson. “They’re just not necessarily pushed out in the public.”

Stories about that altruistic approach led Williamson and Nicole Schneider, a project manager for communications in the Ag and Turf Division, to start thinking about a sort of cause-marketing way to unveil the company’s new S-Series combine.

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