A little neighborly advice for State Farm.

In Ad Creative, Just Thinkin' on June 28, 2011 at 12:02 am

Insurance can be a tough sell. And the “old gray ladies” of the biz like Allstate and State Farm can be excused if they are a little desperate in their desire to stop losing share to the Geicos, and Progressives of the world.  For a product no one ever wants to actually have to USE, it’s tough to beat a good price story, especially when it’s built around internet or phone call convenience.

But it seems to me Allstate and State Farm are both are trying to tackle the “younger customer” with what they consider edgier or hipper campaigns. Allstate’s “mayhem” is growing on me. And the other night, I saw Dennis Haysbert use that word in an attempt, at least, to tie their two very different campaigns together.

State Farm, however, is a little lost. They continue to run their traditional “adult’ campaign that, while not exciting, at least rings true, tugs at the right strings, and provides a pretty straight ahead “demo” of the company’s famous tag line.

Not so in their “youth” campaigns. It appears their only strategy here was “let’s put some young people and millenial story lines in our spots, then they’ll think we’re cool and buy from us.” Sorry, but I am not convinced that some slacker saying “State Farm is there” in order to get the girl from  the apartment upstairs or a new hot tub to materialize says anything meaningful about your product. Nor does the mean-spirited boyfriend/girlfriend tiff featured in another execution.

Yes, you need to appeal to a younger demographic. But does someone who is  finally accepting the responsibility to purchase insurance really willing to buy it from a big name company that is suddenly trying to look like the life of the toga party? (An even newer campaign appears to depict State Farm customers as deranged goofs who would squander the money they supposedly saved on things like falcons. Another knee-slapper.)

State Farm, I know you need to appeal to a younger demo. But a closer look at what those people really think and feel would do far more for the brand than lobbing superficial executions in the general direction of the caricatured image you apparently have of them.

Insurance may not be fun. But it is most assuredly not silly, either. And a campy Bob Barker appearance is no substitute for a real point of difference.


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