Real State Farm Agents Help Things ‘Go Right’ in DDB’s Kooky New Ads

Enjoy that new chichi-er she-shed!

State Farm

Imagine, if you will, your she-shed—a gal’s special place of refuge from the frenzied world—getting zapped by lightning and going up in flames.

Oh my, what would you do?

Well, if you bought coverage from State Farm, you could call agent Zach Bay, and he’d help process your claim so you could get a new “chichi-er she-shed.”

Bay and four other real State Farm reps star in the insurer’s latest campaign breaking today from DDB Chicago. Each spot has a quick-paced, joke-y style, driven by enjoyably silly visuals, to explain that State Farm is “Here to help _____ go right,” filling in the blank each time. The brand’s “Here to help life go right” tagline pops up in the end.

“We want consumers to understand that State Farm agents are real people who live and work in their communities and are here to help,” Patty Morris, the company’s brand content director, tells AdFreak. “There is real value in having a relationship with a State Farm agent,” she says, citing “our empathetic approach” as “a point of differentiation for our brand.”

From a societal point of view, it’s sad that insurance companies have become such despised dispensers of doom that stressing empathy serves as a point of differentiation. But here we are.

In this next ad, for auto insurance, we learn that potholes won’t necessarily put you on the road to ruin:

Other topics covered in the ads below, touting various types of coverage, include shopping-cart mishaps, the foibles of family life and assorted suburban “what ifs,” including cheesy medieval re-enactments, huzzah!

“State Farm has featured real agents in advertising for years,” says Morris. “It’s very natural for them to play the heroes and heroines in our stories.”

Just before filming, “to help warm them up and shake off any nerves, we had them talk to the actors about—what else?—insurance,” she says. “They’d chat the actors up for about five minutes about signing up for a policy before they started with the actual lines.”

Those actors must have been thrilled, right? Ah well, that’s showbiz.

As for the agents, they get meaty parts in the stories, acquitting themselves well.

One was an especially good sport. Despite being allergic to cats, State Farm’s Oumar Sylla cuddled with a feline during for the “Awkward Photo” spot and, we’re told, emerged no worse for wear. (So he won’t be filing a claim.)

Client: State Farm
Pat Culligan: AVP – Marketing
Patty Morris: Director of Brand Content & Development
Troy Johnson: Marketing Manager
Jessica Soddy: Content Strategy Manager
Tim Thomas: Marketing Analyst
James Stahly: Marketing Analyst
Nick Rynerson: Marketing Analyst
Jessica Peres: Marketing Analyst

Creative Agency: DDB Chicago
Chief Creative Officer, DDB North America: Ari Weiss
Chief Creative Officer, DDB Chicago: John Maxham
Chief Production Officer: Diane Jackson
Executive Creative Director: Mel Routhier
Group Creative Director: John Hayes
Creative Director, Art Director: Brian Culp
Creative Director, Copywriter: Katie Bero
Creative Director, Art Director: Christopher Bruney
Creative Director, Copywriter: Adam Cook
Executive Producer: Amy Turner
Executive Producer: Mary Cheney
Producer: Meghan Gross
Group Strategy Director: Jesse Bayer
Strategist: Amanda Schuneman
Group Account Director: Ben Gladstone
Account Director: Veronica Zamiar
Account Supervisor: Oliver Glenn
Account Executive: Amanda Ouellette

—Production Credits for “Pothole” “She Shed”

Production Company: MJZ
Director: Craig Gillespie
Executive Producer: Emma Wilcockson
Producer: Martha Davis

Editorial: Whitehouse
Editor: Matthew Wood
Assistant Editor: Meaghan Rahamut
Producer: Dawn Guzowski

Audio Post: The Studio
Audio Engineer: Nicholas Papaleo
Audio Engineer: Justin Mayer
Audio Producer: Cameron Aper

VFX/Finish: 8VFX
Executive Producer: Shira Boardman
Producer: Ryan Dahlman
Creative Director: Jean-Marc Demmer
VFX/CG Supervisor: Julien Forest
Senior Crowd TD: Tanner Owen
Modeler: Leticia Saldana
Rigger: Thomas Lopez
Designer: Jaguar Lee
Lead Flame Compositor: Talia Gleason
Nuke Compositor: Jerry Hall

Color Grading: Company 3
Colorist: Stefan Sonnenfeld
Color Producer: Katie Andrews

Music: Comma
Bonny Dolan – EP
Leigh Salzman – Senior Producer
Peter Schmidt – Composer
Matt Kelly – Composer

—Production Credits for “Awkward Photo” “Sir Robert” “Shopping Cart”

Production Company: Hungry Man
Executive Producer: Caleb Dewart
Director: Dave Laden
Producer: Justin Diener

Editorial: Whitehouse
Editor: Brain Gannon
Executive Producer: Kristin Angeletti
Senior Producer: Dawn Guzkowski
Assistant Editor: Allison Marach

Audio Post: The Studio
Audio Engineer: Nicholas Papaleo
Audio Engineer: Justin Mayer
Audio Producer: Cameron Aper

Post Production: Carbon
Managing Director: Phil Linturn
Senior Producer: Kate Soczka
Creative Director: Rob Churchill

Post Production: The Mill
Senior Color Producer: Liza Kerlin
Color Artist: Matthew Osborne

Music: Heavy Duty Projects
Executive Music Producer: Kate Urcioli
Music Producer: Dylan Bostick
Composer: Jack Ventimiglia

@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.