Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson spoke at a community event at the University of Louisiana at Monroe last week, and said that “where there is no Jesus, evil always reigns”.
“I’m not an ordained preacher,” Phil Robertson told the student-sponsored event, according to The News Star.
“I’m just a guy who builds duck calls. I love my country. We have a great family structure that you see on television. I’m just trying to get America and the rest of the world to do two things – love God and love your neighbor.”
Phil Robertson and his family have often spoken out about their faith and love of God. Duck Dynasty reality show, based around the family and their duck call making company, Duck Commander, in West Monroe, Louisiana, has been praised for creating family-friendly entrainment without violence, and harsh language. It has also scored huge ratings throughout its run, hitting a staggering 11.8 million viewers for the premiere of its fourth season on August 14.
Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson spoke at a community event at the University of Louisiana
The proceeds for the community event went to the Warhawks for Christ student organization. Phil Robertson used the opportunity to recite some famous quotes from notable American figures such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, who he said were godly men who used spiritual convictions when founding the country.
Phil Robertson shared a quote from James Madison, the fourth President of the United States: “The belief in a God all powerful, wise and good, is so essential to the moral order of the world and to the happiness of man.”
“Why don’t politicians talk like that anymore?” Phil Robertson asked.
“I think our problem is a spiritual one … Where there is no Jesus, evil always reigns.”
Phil Robertson and his eldest son, Alan, recently spoke at Saddleback Church in California, where the family patriarch admitted that he had given in to a lot of temptations and challenges in life before he turned to God, which helped save his family.
“I have my past, you have yours…drugs, immorality, alcohol, cursing …until I learned the error of my ways,” Phil Robertson said.
He again talked about the founding fathers, and argued that if they were to see what has become of America’s morality, they would “hang their heads in shame.”
“He was here. He did die. And He was buried. And He was raised from the dead. There’s hope to get off the planet alive,” Phil Robertson concluded and urged non-believers to turn to Christ.
Duck Dynasty‘s bearded hunters adorn the top-selling graphic T-shirt at Walmart.
“You might have wondered if women would wear a T-shirt with bearded men on the front,” said Duncan Mac Naughton, Walmart’s chief merchandising and marketing officer.
The answer is yes, he added.
In fact, A&E Network’s reality series has become a gold mine for Walmart, and both companies are looking to take advantage of the show’s success with a major expansion of its licensing empire.
The Duck Dynasty franchise is represented in six Walmart departments, including apparel, home goods and sporting goods, but there are plans to expand to 13 departments by the holiday season, said Kate Winn, senior VP-consumer products at A&E Networks.
While there’s the obvious – sporting goods, apparel and DVDs – Duck Dynasty is rolling out some more-unusual merchandise: Halloween costumes for dogs complete with beards and camo gear, along with antibacterial bandages.
Duck Dynasty‘s bearded hunters adorn the top-selling graphic T-shirt at Walmart
Walmart has also introduced the bandages, which come with camouflage decorations and feature sayings from members of the Robertson family, the colorful bayou entrepreneurs, such as: “If you’re too busy to duck hunt, you’re too busy.”
Pointing to a display of the bandages during a store tour for media in Rogers, Arkansas, Walmart President-Health and Wellness John Agwunobi said it’s part of a “longstanding relationship” with Duck Dynasty that’s been successful in other categories.
“Walmart has responded to the program because it is a show the entire family can watch and is wholesome entertainment, which isn’t prevalent on TV right now,” Kate Winn said.
Before they achieved cable-TV fame, the Robertsons, owners of West Monroe, Louisiana-based Duck Commander, were suppliers to Walmart for several years, producing duck-hunting VHS tapes sold in the stores with their phone number included.
For years, the Robertsons would shave their beards before annual trips to see buyers in Bentonville, until a few years ago they decided to keep them when making the trip, a Walmart spokeswoman said.
Duck Dynasty merchandise is also available at national retailers like Kohl’s, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s.
Kate Winn said there’s an apparel deal in the works at Kohl’s, with merchandise set to hit shelves in the fall.
Turning small business owners into stars has become a winning formula for television producers, but some businesses featured in them are cashing in, too.
Sales explode after just a few episodes air, transforming these nearly unknown small businesses into household names.
In addition to earning a salary from starring in the shows, some small business owners are benefiting financially from opening gift shops that sell souvenirs or getting involved in other ventures that spawn from their new-found fame.
Duck Commander, seen in Duck Dynasty reality show, is having trouble controlling the crowds in front of its headquarters in the small city of West Monroe, Louisiana.
“Sometimes it’s hard getting from the truck to the front door,” says Willie Robertson, who owns Duck Commander with his father and stars in the A&E series with his extended family.
It’s a big change for a company that sells duck calls out of a part-brick, part-cinder block warehouse on a dry, dead-end country road. Duck hunters use the whistles, which mimic duck sounds, to attract their prey.
Since Duck Dynasty began airing in March 2012, Willie Robertson finds at least 70 people waiting in front of the warehouse every morning asking for autographs and photos. Neighbors have complained about the mobs and the police have been called.
Despite the trouble, the show has been good for the family business. Sales of the company’s duck calls, which range from $20 to $175, have skyrocketed. In 2011, the company sold 60,000 duck calls. In 2012, the year the show began airing, the company sold 300,000.
Duck Dynasty is the most watched documentary-style reality series on TV right now
“We saw a big difference as the Nielsen ratings went up,” says Willie Robertson.
Their income from doing the show may be going up along with the ratings. Duck Dynasty is the most watched documentary-style reality series on TV right now, according to Nielsen, which provides information and insight into what consumers watch and buy. April’s one-hour season three finale was watched by 9.6 million people, making it the most watched program in A&E’s 29-year history. The Hollywood Reporter reported that the cast of the show is demanding a raise to $200,000 an episode to do a fourth season. Both the network and Willie Robertson had no comment on the report.
Cameras follow Willie Robertson and his family as they make duck calls, hunt or go camping. One episode showed Willie Robertson trying to prove to his dad, brother and uncle that he could spend a night in a tent during a camping trip. (Willie Robertson ends up bringing a big recreational vehicle and is ridiculed for it. “Once you bring something with wheels that’s enclosed, you’re no longer camping. You’re parking,” says Willie Robertson’s brother, Jace Robertson, in the episode.)
Duck Commander hired five more people to keep up with rising sales. Every duck call has to be put together by hand.
“It’s like a musical instrument,” says Willie Robertson.
“Each one needs to be blown into it to make sure it works.”
To stop the crowds from disrupting business, and to make extra cash, Willie Robertson opened a gift shop inside the Duck Commander warehouse.
“It keeps the people out of my lobby,” he says. The shop sells duck calls, Duck Commander T-shirts and bobble head dolls that look like Willie Robertson, his dad, uncle and brother, complete with their long beards.