For 45 years, State Farm has pitched itself as the “good neighbor” who stands by you when things go wrong.
In a major rebranding, State Farm unveiled a new campaign that shifts focus from insurance against misfortune to the company’s more proactive services — everything from funding college to planning for retirement.
Gone is the 5-year-old “Get to a Better State” campaign, where State Farm agents rescue customers from buffalo attacks, car accidents and other disasters.
The new tagline is: “Here to Help Life Go Right.”
“We’ve always been there when things go wrong, but people don’t realize the many ways that we’ve been here to help life go right,” said Beth Ward, assistant vice president of marketing for State Farm, based in the central Illinois city of Bloomington. “We’ve got banking products, life insurance products and other things that can also help enable those dreams.”
Created by longtime State Farm ad agency DDB Chicago, the campaign launched Thursday with a commercial that opens with ominous scenes that play out well. Tornadoes give way to rainbows, fires are spontaneously extinguished and a boy on a bike miraculously weaves through traffic. A youthful voice ponders what a State Farm agent would do in a world where nothing went wrong.
The answer? Sell you assorted financial services.
“Insurance is always going to be known as when [disasters happen], they’re there for you in the worst times,” said John Maxham, chief creative officer of DDB. “What State Farm would like people to know is there is another side to life and another side to them, and with a little bit of planning they can help create better outcomes.”
DDB Chicago, under its predecessor Needham, Harper & Steers, created the iconic “Like a Good Neighbor” slogan for State Farm in 1971. It has endured and remains a “part of (the company’s) DNA,” according to Ward. But the slogan is nowhere to be found in the new commercial, with just a faintest nod to the jingle.
The last four notes of the jingle sound at the end of the 60-second spot, corresponding with the unsung lyrics “State Farm is there.”
State Farm spent $484 million on measured media in the U.S. last year, according to Kantar Media. The company plans to be “aggressive” with the new campaign, which will also include online, direct mail and other advertising platforms, in addition to commercials.
Ward said State Farm remains an insurance company, and that the “good neighbor” slogan may find its way back into a starring role in future campaigns. State Farm just wants customers to call with some good news once in a while too.
“We’re not saying we won’t be there for people when things go wrong,” Ward said. “It’s helping them understand we’re also there to help their lives go right.”