What started out as a pretty straight forward :30 commercial assignment, raise awareness that State Farm Insurance reps are available 24 hours, has lived well beyond the 31st second. The concept is classic sitcom with a simple misunderstanding. The script has 0 fat. Every word belongs there. Kudos to the creative team. But it didn’t end there.
The direction and casting nail it. The Vince Vaughn-looking husband plays it so straight, not looking for any laughs. Usually these husband and wife spots feature the smart wife and the dopey husband. Here’s an advertiser willing to make the wife look dumb – in a good way.
But the big star of the spot is the guy who appears for about one second. Jake. From State Farm. The biggest win for the brand is the line everyone remembers and repeats: “Jake. From State Farm.” So rare for a brand to have its name become repeatable. I’m guessing everyone involved is surprised by this. The spot is actually titled “State of Unrest.” They probably would’ve been satisfied if just that stuck. It has “State” in it which is half their name!
For comparison, the classic “Where’s The Beef?” line for Wendy’s has been misattributed at times. And the line they thought was going to catch on was “Fluffy Buns.”
Sometimes things just fall into place. This spot runs again and again and is always welcome. Kind of like watching the same “Big Bang Theory” or “Modern Family” episode for the gazillionth time.
In my most recent welcome encounter with this spot, I noticed a small super on the screen (not in the above clip). No, not a hashtag. That’s so yesterday. No, I saw a Twitter handle for @JakeStateFarm. So of course I just had to check it out and follow.
Fictional Twitter accounts can be great. I enjoy following some of the Mad Men characters living in their earlier era. And I get a kick out of spur of the moment accounts that pop up. Hats are big. Such as @PharrellHat and for New York Rangers fans, @TheBroadwayHat. And as far as branded accounts go, the @AflacDuck quacks me up. (sorry). Plus there’s also Progressive’s Flo.
The good ones don’t use Twitter as a heavy sell to “consumers” but rather a place to engage with people. Oh and they just happen to be part of a brand.
It’s also no coincidence that State Farm, Aflac and Progressive are insurance companies doing something engaging and creative. I give the credit for creative insurance companies to GEICO. Well actually, The Martin Agency who proved insurance advertising doesn’t have to be as dull as insurance.
Clearly all these ads must be working because, trust me, the actuaries at these companies would recognize bad ROI and yank them off the air.
Score one for the creative people who dressed Jake in khakis while probably wearing jeans when they wrote it.