Could Jake, the khaki-clad State Farm agent who broke through the clutter long enough to get his own meme, be making a return? This week, the Bloomington, Illinois-based insurer unveiled a teaser ahead of a new campaign, beginning with a 30-second pre-game spot on Super Bowl Sunday.
In the clip, a State Farm office cubicle, ostensibly belonging to “Jake from State Farm,” according to the name plate, sits empty. “Back in the office 2.2.2020” a text card reads, before more text with the insurer’s tagline and famous jingle “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.”
Returning to the Good Neighbor tagline appears to be part of a brand refresh implemented by State Farm’s new lead creative agency The Marketing Arm. The insurer selected The Marketing Arm in November after a lengthy review last year that resulted in a significant demotion for DDB, State Farm’s longtime creative agency.
“In our category, consumers are just bombarded with messages,” says Rand Harbert, chief marketing officer at State Farm. “With so many things vying for their attention, we wanted to focus on relevance and memorability.”
Jake, a DDB creation who first emerged in 2011, was certainly memorable. In that spot, a woman awakens to find her husband speaking in hushed tones over the phone in the middle of the night. Assuming he’s having an affair, she grabs the phone and asks, “What are you wearing, Jake from State Farm?” As the camera cuts to his cube, Jake replies “Uh, khakis?” The spot eventually became a meme for misunderstandings.
As part of the new campaign, State Farm will be “sunsetting” its current “Here to help life go right” work, Harbert says. He notes that the brand never got rid of the “Like a good neighbor” concept, even if the tagline hasn’t been as present in recent marketing.
“The new campaign is a re-envisioning,” Harbert says. “We’re going to where we think the brand can go.”
The new spot will also run after the Super Bowl during the Masked Singer. State Farm last ran an ad in the pre-game show before the 2011 Big Game. The new work will run on digital, radio, out-of-home and TV.