StateFarm is so deeply committed to its iconic tagline, which was inducted into the Advertising Week’s Walk of Fame three years ago, that, a couple years back, they dumped it in favor of:
Get to a better State
It’s bad enough that they shamelessly piled on the steaming tagheap of lines that employ that particular play on words, mostly generated by the tourism departments of various States. But recently, I saw a StateFarm print ad (your remember print ads) that compounded the sin. Never mind that the ad was as obvious and derivative as the tagline (using the same format, essentially, as Rolling Stone with their immortal, over-revered “Perception. Reality” campaign, which was then copied by about a million other brands), this ad features the image of some loose change above the first half of the headline, “good state”, then, below that, the image of a wallet full of dollar bills, and the headline, “better state”. Simple, yes. On strategy, no doubt. But, come on.
But wait. There’s more. The tagline isn’t simply Get to a better State, as it is in the TV spots. They just had to go and screw it up even further by adding Get State Farm to the tagline. Then, below all that is the StateFarm logo, huge.
So now they’ve pounded us over the head twice, and twice again. We’ve got that “better state” phrase in the headline and then again in the tagline. And we’ve got StateFarm in the tagline appearing directly above the huge logo. And, of course, we have mentions of State Farm agent AND statefarm.com in the very brief body copy as well. Holy crap. Such Hulk-like finesse.
At a minimum . . . a MINIMUM . . . they could have spared us that Get State Farm part. Removing that phrase would have at least allowed the huge StateFarm logo to serve as the payoff to the tagline, as would make the most sense. And maybe the ad wouldn’t have felt so incredibly insulting, had they omitted the Get StateFarm line. I’m pretty sure EVERYONE already understood what the call to action was, way before getting to those last three words.
When old ad guys bemoan the death of the art of print, it’s this kind of ham-handed mess that they can point to. Clean and simple just isn’t sufficient. It really needs to be smart, interesting and respectful as well.
I’m sure someone out there is still creating good print advertising, but it sure ain’t whoever came up with—and whoever approved—this ad.