Watching the NBA finals tonight I saw an ad from State Farm Insurance. The backing track is Michael Jackson’s “I’ll Be There.” It’s a montage: candlelight vigils, heroic hurricane victims, Koman walkers with waterbottles and pink T-shirts, somebody rolling Billy Barty across the 20 yard line, some woman with a half-burned photo album, a mom soldier getting off the bus hugging her kid, a guy helping his kid dunk a basketball, except it seems the guy must be 9 feet tall, the way they filmed it. Excellent ad. I mean, I really liked it until I thought back to the Liberty Mutual ads that run several months ago.
You know–those “pay it forward” ads where someone did something nice for someone and someone else saw it. Then they did something nice, but different and appropriate to the situation. Then someone else saw that, and did something else that was creative and decent and small.
I really hate the State Farm ad. It’s a montage of unrelated heart-wringing moments. A couple of them are insurance-related. Most of them are random feel-good and politically correct or at least inoffensive. What they’re about is associating the insurance company with heartfelt moments.
The Liberty Mutual ads were about associating the insurance company with doing the right thing. They had a consistency and decency and creativity that made me go Wow! The State Farm ad makes me go Awwww…