NBA Players Star as Sitcom Family in New State Farm Campaign

Brand Spokesman Chris Paul Returns in Campaign Designed to Illustrate Insurer's Breadth of Services

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NBA players star as a sitcom family
NBA players star as a sitcom family Credit: State Farm

State Farm is benching its three-year-old "Born to Assist" campaign in favor of a new series beginning Christmas Day. The nation's largest auto insurer is launching "The Hoopers," which features basketball players Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan of the LA Clippers as the dad and mom of a sitcom family living next door to a State Farm agent. The agent helps the family deal with cooking disasters, car mishaps and, of course, falling basketball hoops.

The new campaign follows "Born to Assist," where Cliff, a long-lost twin of Mr. Paul's, worked as a State Farm agent assisting consumers in their insurance needs. Bloomington, Ill.-based State Farm has been a sponsor of the NBA since 2010; the coming year will be Mr. Paul's fourth as a State Farm spokesman.

"We felt like it was time to freshen the campaign a little bit," explained Patty Morris, State Farm marketing director, brand content. "Cliff's been great for us, but he's going to take a little break." She noted that the new spots, which include a three-generation family, help to illustrate State Farm's ability to assist consumers during all stages of life.

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The first three spots, which also feature players Kevin Love, Kevin Garnett and Damian Lillard, will debut Dec. 25; State Farm will boost its TV offerings with digital and social media efforts as well. The five-spot campaign will continue through the end of the basketball season and NBA finals in June.

The 93-year-old insurer, which generated revenue of $71.2 billion last year, again tapped Translation for the campaign.

"Placing a State Farm agent next door to a basketball family gave us a lot of narrative," said John Norman, chief creative officer at New York-based Translation, noting that neighbors are a part of State Farm's DNA. "We felt like the idea would lend itself to tell more stories."

In an increasingly competitive industry landscape, State Farm is looking to stand out by using its chief asset -- its agents, who could provide more personalized services than rivals. The company has been asking agencies to pitch new ideas in an effort to reenergize its marketing and move away from the current "Get to a Better State" campaign. Ms. Morris declined to comment on the agencies involved -- Translation, DDB Chicago and FCB have all pitched ideas -- but she did say that in 2016, State Farm's marketing might help people see the brand differently.

Last year, State Farm spent more than $598 million on measured media in 2014, a 4.1% decline from the prior year, according to AdAge's Datacenter. Ms. Morris declined to say how much the company is spending on "The Hoopers" campaign.

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