State Farm's Shifting Strategy
Keep Your Eye on the Commercials
I met my wife, who was working at State Farm corporate headquarters at the time, just a few years ago. I remember teasing her about how stale and boring the State Farm commercials were compared to the humorous approach taken by companies like Geico. She agreed but told me State Farm was more interested in communicating their message of reliability and dependability to their customers than making a splash on television.
All that rapidly began to change the day she came home to tell me there was a rumor going around that State Farm was planning to use Bob Barker in an upcoming commercial. "They say they want to make him the next Betty White." Sure enough, old Bob did show up in a commercial less than two months later, in all his orange skinned glory. In the years since, State Farm has been shifting towards a more humorous approach in commercials, without neglecting their original message of dependability.
The Original Approach
For years, State Farm has thrived as an insurance giant in the heart of the Midwest. Situated in humble Bloomington, IL, the insurance powerhouse had humble beginnings. It was founded by George J. Mecherle, a retired farmer, in the 1920's. For the first few decades, the small company was nothing like the State Farm we know today, but it began to thrive on a simple message: "Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there."
In fact, this message has been a staple of State Farm promotions throughout its existence. Advertisements have stressed a insurance company that will be there at the times that you need it most, after an accident, a storm that damages your home, the death of a loved one. This message is still present in some of the companies social media campaigns. You can see its presence in the video below, a recent addition on the official State Farm YouTube channel.
The Serious Side of State Farm
The Change in Strategy
Beginning around the time of the 2011 Super Bowl, State Farm has had a noticeable shift in its advertisements, making an intentional move towards funnier commercials. In the past couple of years, we have seen Bob Barker, Betty White, Jerry driving his car up a tree, an alien shooting up the neighborhood with lasers, and booty shaking agents with their clients at a basketball game.
With my wife no longer at State Farm, I can't claim to have an insider with knowledge, but I'd have to guess this shift is designed to compete with Geico's many funny commercials. Geico is one of State Farm's biggest competitors, and they've used these kinds of commercials for years.
Notice, however, that State Farm hasn't exactly given up their theme of service and reliability. Much like Geico stresses saving money and changing to their insurance in just 15 minutes with humor, State Farm has done much the same with their themes. Notice in the commercial below how they mange to both stress how how they are there "like a good neighbor" while at the same time taking a shot at Geico, which is never mentioned by name.
A Funny State Farm Commercial
State Farm continues to operate in the top echelon of insurers in America, facing its largest competition from Geico and All State. Will its attempt to communicate with humor pay off? Let me know what you think by voting in my poll below.
Do you think State Farm's shift towards a more humorous approach in commercials will help them against similar campaigns from Geico and others?
- Trent Fairfield - State Farm Agent in Peoria, IL
My local agent! State Farm Insurance Agent Trent Fairfield (309) 692-3276 8500 N Knoxville, Suite C, Peoria IL, 61615-2087 for Auto, Home, Life and Financial Services in Peoria
- Statefarm - YouTube
Welcome to State Farm. This is the official State Farm® channel. Here you will find a collection of videos that tell our story. You can watch commercials, find great home and car safety tips, and get to know what makes State Farm® different.
- State Farm's Official Site
State Farm offers more discounts to more drivers than any other insurance company. Get a free quote today and see how you can save on auto, home, life and more.
- Geico's Official Site
Geico is the evil empire for big State Farm fans.