Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last two years, you’re familiar with the self-proclaimed redneck Robertson family and the enormous success of A&E’s monster hit reality show, “Duck Dynasty.” So, why are the Robertsons so very popular and why have they become so firmly entrenched in American pop culture? There’s no denying that the rednecks from Louisiana are hotter than firecrackers on the Fourth of July. Below are the top ten reasons why America has fallen in love with the Robertson family from “Duck Dynasty” and why they’re so darn popular.
1. Classic rags to riches story
Every hard-working American loves a classic rags-to-riches story. The Robertsons have made their multimillion dollar fortune selling duck calls, one at a time. Based in Monroe, La., Duck Commander, founded by patriarch Phil Robertson, began a quarter of a century ago. In fact, the family business was a success long before “Duck Dynasty” came into the picture. When Willie took control of the company, he managed to turn it into an empire. By landing a national TV show that draws in a record audience, the Robertsons prove that hard work, dedication and the right connections can go a long, long way.
2. Traditional Values
Unlike the highly controversial Kardashian clan, the Robertsons resound with America because of their traditional values and religious beliefs. All of the Robertson boys are happily married and are raising thriving families. They’re respected by their children and show respect to their father. The Robertsons are also self-depreciating and don’t mind being the butt of a joke. Despite whatever minor differences the family may have, they come together to share a communal prayer, a family meal and traditional family values.
3. Being a redneck is cool
Millions of Americans wear camouflage, but it’s suddenly cool to dress like the forest. The Robertsons make no excuses for their lack of style. In fact, they’re quite proud of their long beards, redneck attire, and attitudes to match. Walk into any small town Walmart and the first thing you’ll see is a huge display of “Duck Dynasty” merchandise, apparel, caps and so much more. Redneck appeal has grown the Duck Commander business into a $45 million empire.
4. Rich characters = huge ratings
A successful TV show will fall flat in the ratings game if the characters aren’t fully developed. On “Duck Dynasty,” the characters don’t need to be developed – they’re simply characters, and proud of it. The biggest character of all is Uncle Si, a Vietnam Veteran who pops out oddball philosophies like gumballs from a gumball machine. In fact, his sayings have become legendary like “B-L-T. Beaver, lettuce and tomato” and “I’m down like a rodeo clown.” The brotherly relationship among Willie, Jase and Jep also weaves an interesting plot, as does that of Phil and Miss Kay, who have been married for 48 years. The wives, Korie, Missy and Jessica, also play a major role on “Duck Dynasty and are interesting in their own right.
5. The grandkids stay out of trouble
Phil and Kay Robertson have a gaggle of 14 grandkids. Son Alan and his wife Lisa have two daughters: Anna and Alex. Jase and Missy have three kids: Reed, Cole and Mia. Willie and Korie have their own brood of five children: Rebecca, John Luke, Sadie, Will and Bella. Jep and Jessica are the parents of four kids: Lily, Merritt, Priscilla and River. They range in age from full-grown to toddlers. The amazing thing is that none of the grandchildren have been in the tabloids for inappropriate behavior, which is quite a refreshing change. Somehow, despite their fame and fortune, Alan, Jase, Willie and Jep are able to raise well-rounded kids.
6. Merchandising rocks America
From bobbleheads to Halloween costumes to garden gnomes, “Duck Dynasty” merchandise spans the spectrum and is available everywhere. Some of the oddest items include anti-bacterial bandages, a party board game, chia pets, Si’s marshmallow shooter, a “Duck Dynasty” bedding collection of camouflage sheets and comforters, and fake beards. To say that “Duck Dynasty” is popular in America is an understatement. The country’s favorite bearded family is simply everywhere and a staple of current pop culture.
7. Record-breaking ratings
“Duck Dynasty” fever has swept the nation. The premiere of season four shattered records and drew in a record-breaking TV audience of 11.8 million viewers. That’s more than 2 million more viewers than the season three finale, which drew in 9.6 million and set a ratings record for A&E. Ratings continue to be strong, although the season four finale dropped to a measly 8.4 million. Most TV shows could only dream to pull in such a huge and loyal following.
8. Multi-media masters
The Robertsons have not only conquered the world of television, but they have also taken the world of publishing by storm. Si’s “Si-cology 1” book debuted #1 in hardcover non-fiction. Phil’s “Happy, Happy, Happy” spent 20 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List. “The Duck Commander Family” by Willie and Korie Robertson also spent a good bit of time at the top of the list. “Faith in the Duck Blind” by brother Alan and a cookbook by Kay were also recently released. “The Women of Duck Commander” and a book written by Jase are on the horizon. “Duck the Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas” is a new holiday CD that hits stores on Oct. 29. It features original songs like “Ragin’ Cajun Redneck Christmas” and contributions from Luke Bryan, George Strait, Josh Tuner and other country superstars.
9. Social media sensations
The Robertsons and A&E have mastered social media. More than 6.5 million fans follow regular “Duck Dynasty” updates on Facebook, while more than 1,400,000 people follow the show on Twitter. In addition, most of the stars have their own Twitter and/or Facebook accounts, meaning they’re always connected to their loyal fans. Willie has 1,485,000 Twitter followers, while Korie has close to a million, and Jase rivals Willie with 1,423. Missy follows behind with more than half a million and Jep has 692,012 Twitter followers.
10. Trashy Reality Show Fatigue
“Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” and “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” are hits, but millions of viewers are tuning to “Duck Dynasty” because of trashy reality show fatigue. Yes, the Robertson faces are seen everywhere, but rarely in the tabloids. They may not be as wholesome as the Waltons, but the Robertsons aren’t nearly as rambunctious as the Kardashians either. In fact, “Duck Dynasty” is like a breath of fresh air on a cloudy, stormy day.
So, has the Robertson family run their course and reached their tipping point? Are they in danger of becoming over-exposed? According to Fox News, the answer is no. Lorraine Shanley, president of Market Partners International stated, “I think that they’re striking while the iron is hot. I presume that they’re being very responsive to the feedback they’re getting on the show.” Another marketing executive said that the “Duck Dynasty” franchise has a long way to go before it peaks. “I feel like ‘Duck Dynasty’ is a growing franchise. They’re on the rise, and now is the time for them to put these products out.”
To see how “Duck Dynasty” got started, be sure to watch the video above and to the left to hear Phil Robertson talk about his family’s rise to fame.
Do you want to stay in-the-know? Then sign up to get my articles personally delivered to your in-box. Just click on SUBSCRIBE, and you'll stay up-to-the-minute with the latest TV news.