Whenever I tell people my name is Jake, to this day, almost half will respond with a brief chuckle ‘oh, like Jake from State Farm?’ I always reply with ‘yes, like Jake from State Farm’ and we have a good laugh, only to carry on with the rest of our interaction. What I don’t tell them is that my name is Jake but I also really did work for State Farm. It’s true. For 5 years of my life, I worked as an insurance rep. for State Farm insurance.
Sometimes, I think I was only hired because of the tactful marketing skills of my employer, knowing it’s always good to have a ‘Jake from State Farm’ close by when you’re an insurance agent. Every time I’d answer the phone, “Hi, this is Jake with State Farm, how can I help?” the party on the other end would be in disbelief. They’d ask me if I was wearing ‘khaki’s’ and couldn’t seem to focus on anything but the hilarious irony that my name is Jake and I work at State Farm.
Where are we going with this…?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 10 years, you probably know that I am referring to a 2011 commercial for State Farm Insurance that features a real call center employee named Jake who helps out a late-night customer. Catching her husband on the phone at such a late hour, the man has to explain to his wife that it is not a late-night booty call, but Jake from State Farm helping with his insurance matters.
While I greatly appreciate the hilarity of the commercial (and the irony of my name and previous place of employment) I’ve always wondered what made it so iconic and inescapably part of the collective, American consciousness. Is there some brilliant marketing at work? Or is it completely by luck and happenstance?
Over the past decade, the majority of television spots, ad campaigns, and brand promotion strategies go unnoticed. Every so often, the stars align, and all the advertising techniques, branding workshops, strategic marketing meetings, and time spent developing a certain advertising campaign, pays off and is forever memorialized like the Jake from State Farm commercial.
Because the modern marketing machine is a multi-faceted beast, let’s look at 3 of the most creative ad campaigns of the past decade and their use of the many marketing outlets available for brands today.
Let’s highlight some of the advertising techniques that may have influenced their success. In doing so, perhaps you and your full-service marketing team can dream up the next successful ad campaign for the 2020s and beyond.
Top 3 most creative ad campaigns of 2010
In February 2010, Old Spice launched a commercial that became an instant classic, garnering 11 million views by the end of June 2010, and winning multiple awards including a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Commercial, and the Grand Prix for Film at Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.
Behind the scenes
Before the launch of this successful television advertising campaign, the Old Space brand was taken over by the creative advertisement agency, Wieden+Kennedy. As one of the largest advertising agencies in the world, Wieden+Kennedy was tasked with reinventing the Old Spice brand to appeal to a younger demographic.
The advertising campaign was centered around the character ‘The Old Spice Guy’ played by Isaiah Mustafa. The commercial features Mustafa in various settings, speaking directly to the camera about how “your man” could smell like him if only he would use Old Spice body wash products. Needless to say, it achieved its end goals and single-handedly saved the Old Spice brand from aging into oblivion with its original consumer base.
Why was it one of the most successful ad campaigns?
The advertising campaign was successful for a variety of reasons. For one, the full-service marketing agency hired for the job built successful brand promotion strategies around key advertising techniques and ideas. They did not simply release the commercial and hope for the best. Instead, they identified their target audience, workshopped brand development ideas, and picked the perfect conduit through which they could speak to their target audience.
This strategy was so successful that people developed a connection with the Old Spice Man and, ultimately, a connection with their brand. To this day, the entirety of this ad series is known as one of the most viral ad campaigns ever!
(Interested in learning more about unique Brand Strategy? Check out our other post on Brand Strategy and Why it Matters!)
May the Best Opprotunist win!Contemporary ad campaigns don’t always come to fruition through commercials and television! Oreo’s ‘Dunk in The Dark’ is widely considered one of the best ‘real-time’ marketing stunts of the 21st century.
Behind the scenesDuring Super Bowl XLVII, the nightmare of every sports fan, broadcaster, and advertising agency came true: the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans had a major power outage. While everyone else was scrambling to get their ad money refund, the folks at agency 360i, Oreo’s social media, and digital marketing specialists capitalized on the blackout with this pointed tweet: “Power out? No problem. You can still dunk in the dark.“ The tweet went viral and stole the Super Bowl marketing show.
Why was it one of the most successful ad campaigns?
This advertising stunt was successful for three main reasons: it was relevant, timely, and succinct. The digital marketing team at 360i turned a collective sigh of grief into an opportunity to speak to their audience. They were able to tweet within minutes of the power outage and capitalize on the fact that there was a gigantic audience who could collectively identify with their brand and message: this power outage sucks but Oreos are still delicious, with or without light! Finally, it was succinct. The advertising agency didn’t try to oversell the Oreo brand or be too clever. They simply stated a fact: you can still dunk in the dark!
(Want to think even more outside the box? This article on selling perfume in a digital marketplace comes up with some great solutions that can be applied to any product!)