Ad Space – Suffer for State Farm

You are now entering Ad Space, a realm of commercials, brought before us so we might examine how they work, and discuss why we both love and hate them so. So it is written …

The Product:
State Farm insurance

The Promotion:

The Pitch:
We can give you a great discount … but it’ll cost you.

It’s one of the oldest commercial tropes there is: imply your product is amazing by showing people obsessed with it, willing to go to any lengths, endure any hardships, just to have it in their lives.

It’s a trope that works quite well, but only because people usually don’t have to do anything onerous to get the product advertised. Silly rabbits may hatch elaborate schemes to get their hands on sweet, sweet Trix, but in real life it’s just a question of picking some up at the grocery store. We laugh at commercial characters struggling and sacrificing to get the product, and we internalize the message about the product being worth all that effort, but it’s not enough to make us think the product is actually difficult to get.

But taking that approach to State Farm’s “safe driver discount” … probably a mistake. Because to get that discount, people do have to monitor their behavior on a regular basis. No speeding, no sudden stops, no driving at “high risk” times of night (or, if you must, don’t bring your phone with you so the app can’t track it).

It’s not like that’s a huge, colossal burden or anything, but it is a little extra effort you have to put in daily. That’s why (to me at least) this ad seems like a warning against going for the safe driver discount. Instead of playing up how awesome the discount must be if this person goes to such extremes to get it, I’m left thinking, “Wow, if you have to go to such extremes to get the discount, it is so not worth it.”

Still, funny ad, though.