Ad of the Week: State Farm's new tagline opens to rave reviews

Like a good neighbor, insurance company's emotional spots make you feel good about the future

"Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm is There." It’s as well known as "Have a Coke and a Smile," "Got Milk?" and "Just Do It"— and it’s been around longer than all of them. Though State Farm says that slogan isn’t going away, its latest campaign has introduced a new tagline, "Here to Help Life Go Right," and initial reviews are stellar. DDB Chicago-created "Wrong Right" debuted on national television last week in 60- and 30-second formats, with the former taking Ad of the Week honors in Ace Metrix testing.

The ad starts with a voiceover by a young boy wondering, "What if we just woke up one day and everything just stopped going wrong?" He then goes on to imagine a world where instead of accidents and disasters, we only have moments of joy and celebration. Results that bear mentioning include an Ace Score 18% above the Insurance category norm, extraordinary Breakthrough power driven by high Likeability and Attention, strong Relevance and low Polarity. 

In terms of the creative aspects that helped the ad break through, the Visual Scenes were most commonly selected as the Single Best Thing about the ad, followed by the message. About the visuals, viewers said, "Great scenes of family and goodness" and "a seriously moving set of scenes." As to the message, viewer comments included, "I liked the utopian message" and, "A very positive message for a change." 

What’s truly remarkable about this pilot ad for the new campaign is that out of 180 State Farm ads measured by Ace Metrix since 2010, it is the third most effective by Ace Score. It comes in behind two other powerful ads "Thanks" and "Names." One is a tribute to New York that aired on 9/11 in 2011, and one introduces State Farm agents by name as a force of nature when disasters such as Ike, Andrew, Rita and Sandy hit. In the midst of memorable ads like "What are you wearing, Jake from State Farm? . ... Ah, Khakis"; Aaron Rodgers and the Discount Double Check; NBA stars; the Coneheads; and, of course, the jingle, it’s evocative emotion that wins the day. This also hammers home the point that a 60-second ad allows for a richer story, and a deeper connection — though it should be noted that the 30-second version of "Wrong Right" also lands in the top 10% of all State Farm ads tested by Ace Metrix. 

In a very cluttered insurance category, where differentiated messaging is difficult, this new State Farm ad also shines through as a leader. Among 41 nationally televised and digital spots from the past 90 days, "Wrong Right" performs best (Ace Score 643 on a scale of 1-950), followed by Nationwide’s "One Up" (Ace Score 626) and Farmers Insurance "UFH20" (Ace Score 615.) While State Farm’s ad was described in comments as "touching," "nice" and "informative," these other ads used humor to get their message across. Viewers used "funny," "humorous" and "hilarious" to a large degree in comments. Comparing the Ad Personalities below, which illustrate the relative strength of each measure we use to understand how an ad achieves specific objectives, it’s clear State Farm has a more multi-dimensional approach.

Demonstrating that humor is a common communication method in the insurance business, Allstate just launched a new campaign using comedians Leslie Jones and Adam DeVine. They’ve also replaced iconic tagline "You’re in good hands with Allstate" with "It's Good to Be in Good Hands." One of the first ads, "Pure Power," released last month, had an impressive showing (Ace Score 603) and did a great job of relaying new product information about their app, as well as changing brand perception.

Back to State Farm, with viewer comments such as "It was heartfelt, which made it feel personal" and "Very heartwarming and engaging," it’s clear that this emotional connection wins over consumers and delivers memorable advertising. Product communication is also crucial, as insurers compete for younger consumers, so it will be interesting to see how the rest of this campaign plays out after such a strong start. 

Jason Zazzi is vice president of marketing with Ace Metrix.

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