After experimenting with discount-focused direct-response TV ads last year, State Farm is going back to its service-oriented roots in a new campaign that will debut Monday with three commercials.
The effort also marks a more prominent role for roster agency DDB, Chicago, which had been pushed aside some last year in favor of Interpublic Group of Cos.' DraftFCB, the insurer's direct-response agency that got a crack at TV work last year.
Both agencies remain on State Farm's roster, but DDB, part of Omnicom Group, is once again in the spotlight. "This campaign tends to be a little broader than direct response and therefore DDB is playing a little bigger role than they did obviously last year," said Tim Van Hoof, State Farm's advertising director.
State Farm, the nation's largest auto insurer, foreshadowed the change last year to Ad Age , saying it planned to "evolve to a bigger message to cover all the needs a customer may have."
The ads do that with a new tagline, urging customers to "Get to a Better State," while spotlighting the company's agents, which State Farm sees as a differentiating point from competitors such as Geico and Progressive .
"We are a brand that 's been known for the service end of the business for a long time," Mr. Van Hoof said. "As we learn from consumers about just some of the distrust in the world today after what we've been through financially and economically as a country, it seemed like a great opportunity to tell our core story, which is the best value in the business."
The ads still plug affordability, for sure -- a must in the ultra-competitive car insurance market. In one spot, a customer walks around with a falcon, which he says he was able to buy because his agent helped him save money on car insurance. But one ad simply plugs the fact that agents are available at anytime, featuring a man calling his agent at 3 a.m. from his dark living room, rousing suspicions from his wife. A fourth ad will debut later this year that plugs State Farm Bank, which offers checking and savings accounts, as well as loans and credit cards.