State Farm Neighbors With Black Colleges

Insurer poised to pitch networks

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%%STORYIMAGE_RIGHT%% In an attempt to foster a deeper relationship with the African-American audience, State Farm Insurance is producing and funding an oratory festival called Nu*Voice, with the goal of capping the program with a network TV awards special.

According to several execs close to the situation, Nu*Voice—developed with Tattoo DDB, a unit of DDB Worldwide—will be a competition that offers students at 10 black colleges and universities a platform to compete in spoken word contests, including categories of prose, poetry, dramatic interpretation, and debate.

DDB is State Farm's agency of record and Tattoo DDB, based in Chicago, is DDB Worldwide's sponsorship marketing and branded entertainment arm.

%%PULLQUOTE_LEFT%% The Bloomington, IL-based company, which has been shifting more dollars to non-traditional marketing of late, has enlisted Guy McCarter, senior VP-director of OMD Entertainment., to shop the project to the TV networks as a one-hour network TV awards special. Plans are to attach A-List African American talent to be a part of the TV special. The idea is for the show to be staged in a way that has an MTV sensibility with a quicker pace than typical awards shows move.

In addition, State Farm, which has had a huge commitment to supporting education over the years, will be funding scholarships for the participating students.

A documentary will be created during the 3-month period of the competitions that would be used to profile the students during the show.

State Farm, McCarter, and Karen Baker, Tattoo DDB group director, all declined to comment on the project.

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