Granted, insurance isn’t the most exciting topic in the world, but that’s no excuse for the consistently lame advertising America’s largest–and my–insurance company keeps putting out there. Their main “Check with Your Neighbors” campaign contains not a shred of cleverness or memorability.
It essentially consists of a young, attractive, totally uninteresting guy saying a bunch of uninteresting things about an uninteresting topic. Then he tells us to ask our friends about how much they love having State Farm as their insurance company. (Gee, the next time I’m in need of an icebreaker at a cocktail party, I have just the line!)
In addition, the visuals have very little to do with the spokesman’s words, which only serves to make these ads not just uninteresting but confusing to boot. To make matters worse, the campaign also does what no #1 brand should ever do: it mentions the competition, which is a sure sign of an advertiser that has lost its way.
Recently they’ve added a new “Magic Jingle” campaign that’s not as much uninteresting as it is annoying. At least this campaign shows banged up cars and other damaged goods to visually reinforce that this is an insurance ad. Unfortunately, they then have the actors sing the “Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm Is There” to have their State Farm agent magically appear to save the day. I presume the intent is to suggest that State Farm agents are more responsive that competitive agents, but the execution is so hokey that the point is likely lost on most people. State Farm’s ad agency was surely shooting for “great,” but what they hit was “grating.”
In short, State Farm doesn’t seem to have been able to create a very compelling story to tell its target audience. And if you don’t have a good story to tell, any investment you make in advertising is likely to be an extremely risky one. You’d think an insurance company would know that.