State Farm's Latest Media Plan Gets Hip

First Outreach to Young Adults Uses MTV, Gaming Sites

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- When you're 18 year old and generally still hold a fairly optimistic outlook on life, buying insurance falls way down on the to-do list. Insurance giant State Farm wants to change that and has embarked on its first broad-based outreach to young adults.
State Farm is trying to reach an audience that doesn't think much about insurance -- young adults.
State Farm is trying to reach an audience that doesn't think much about insurance -- young adults.

The centerpiece of the campaign is a new website, nowwhat.com, where young people can get advice on the ins and outs of renters insurance and car insurance. The home page shows a young girl in jeans looking at her car and apartment; buttons link to topics such as what to do about property damage or break-ins. The website also offers ways to get quotes and find an agent.

Tailored to a younger demo
State Farm offers similar services on its less flashy corporate website, statefarm.com, but the hope is that one tailored to a younger demographic will generate more leads.

State Farm is supporting the website launch with a presence on a slew of gaming sites, cable networks and magazines. Included in the buy are MTV, Comedy Central and ESPN and their related websites; independent gaming sites including IGN.com and GameStop.com; and magazines such as Blender, Vibe, Jane and Rolling Stone.

"Insurance is a below-the-radar category. We're not a portable device. It is something they have to have and may not know a whole lot about," said Mark Gibson, assistant VP-advertising, at the Illinois-based company. "We want to relate to them through situations that are possible and connect in new and unexpected ways."

Young adults shop around
While one might think that young people tend to go with their parents' insurers, when its coming out of their own pockets they might be more likely to shop around, Mr. Gibson said, adding that young adults tended to make that break at around the ages of 18 to 24, though he said people younger and older would be attracted by the new site.

The campaign was created by State Farm's agency, Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide, Chicago, and its interactive sibling Tribal DDB. State Farm's media agency is Omnicom's OMD.

The campaign to promote the website kicked off with the X-Games in early August; the company said traffic has already exceeded expectations, though it declined to give figures. The company also declined to talk about its media spending for this campaign. In 2005, State Farm spent $320 million in measured media, according to TNS Media Intelligence.
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