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State Farm Asks, 'Now What?'

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NEW YORK State Farm asks and answers the question, "Now what?" in an advertising campaign that shows people dealing with common, but difficult, situations.

The effort, via DDB in Chicago, targets young drivers and is anchored by three television spots, in which no reference is made to State Farm, no words are spoken and the only text is the URL, www.Nowwhat.com.

"It's hard to make insurance fun and cool, but this creates that feeling, is plausible, and stays true to the premise that insurance is a necessary part of life," said Mark Gibson, assistant vp, advertising at State Farm, Bloomington, Ill. "Young people tend to think about insurance a lot less than they think about music, cell phones and other things. But this [campaign] will engage them through key aspects of their lives: the Internet, videos and live events."

"We believe that 'Now what?' can become part of the vernacular, like 'Where's the beef?' or 'Whassup,' " said Teri Lucie, segment marketing director at State Farm. "Of course, the bottom line is to engage consumers and sell insurance. This [campaign] can do that."

Commercials broke this weekend.

In "Date," a young guy parks in front of his date's house, opens the driver's door to get out, then pauses to look at himself in the rear-view mirror. That's when an SUV smashes the door off its hinges, leaving the guy stunned.

"Air Conditioning" sees a man installing a window air conditioner, but he only has a few seconds to enjoy it before it falls out and smashes his car, which is parked in the street several stories below.

In "Protection," a man parks his new car, puts a club on the steering wheel, covers the car with a tarp and sets the alarm with his remote. Seconds later, a garbage truck backs into the car and smashes the passenger's side.

Consumers learn these are State Farm spots only after going to the Web site. There, they are greeted by the sound of a car being hit in an accident, and are directed to links to find agents and to get price quotes.

There also is info about the State Farm Now What iFilm video contest, which launches Aug. 29. Consumers are being asked to send in short videos depicting the last time they were in a situation in which they asked themselves, "Now what?" Among the examples are a car sinking underwater and a bear about to swipe food from a table. Videos selected by State Farm will be shown on the Internet site and also on VH1's "Web Junk" site.

Additional TV spots will support, along with print and experiential marketing in select cities. State Farm also is taking "Now what?" to 30 music venues during the year, including tours such as Lollapalooza; it also had a presence at the just-concluded X Games in Los Angeles. In addition, Circuit City will play TV spots on its national in-store network.

Campaign spending was not disclosed.