BLOOMINGTON, Illinois- An emotional new State Farm ad running now has brought many to tears and stresses community service.
“We have been doing this and living this within the organization,” said Rand Harbert, chief agency, sales and marketing officer at the 95-year-old company, of the first-time push. “This is big effort to take it beyond the organization.” He noted that though most people want to volunteer, very few actually take action and that State Farm, with its 19,000 agents spread across the country, can help.
One expert said the new strategy is in keeping with State Farm’s “Good Neighbor” ethos and can help the brand reinforce the message. Though most insurers, like Nationwide, for example, have a history of giving back to the community, the idea of encouraging policyholders to also volunteer is fairly new.
“It’s reinforcing that not only are our agents part of the fabric of the community, but here’s a way to make that fabric richer—I’m not surprised this came from State Farm as opposed to someone else,” said Ellen Carney, principal analyst of insurance eBusiness and channel strategy at Forrester Research. She noted that most customers choose the cheapest auto insurance, but this is a way for State Farm to distinguish itself and could also appeal to younger millennials who are very cause-oriented. Many insurers have had trouble managing customer expectations lately and are also enduring more frequent and higher claims from distracted drivers and older cars—State Farm took a $7 billion hit on its auto insurance underwriting last year.
The film ends by providing the website NeighborhoodofGood.com, where consumers can get matched up to appropriate charities in their geographic areas. Proceeds from the commercial’s song, a cover version of the Chainsmokers’ “Don’t Let Me Down,” by Joy Williams, goes to charity.
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