State Farm’s agency addition comes under new marketing leadership. Kristyn Cook took over as chief marketing officer early this year, replacing Rand Harbert, the longtime CMO who retired after a dozen years at the helm. Under Cook, State Farm has invested in digital-forward marketing channels such as TikTok, where the brand ran a Super Bowl campaign in February. The video, which featured spokesman Jake from State Farm (Kevin Miles) alongside TikTok star Khaby Lame, took advantage of State Farm’s naming rights of the Glendale, Arizona stadium where the Big Game was played this year. Jake recently surpassed the milestone of 1 million TikTok followers.
Also this summer, State Farm has been expanding on its multi-year partnership with the Walt Disney Co., announced last year, with a commercial promoting Disney’s new “Haunted Mansion” movie. Called “Property Damage,” the ad pairs its spokesman with actress Rosario Dawson, who appears in the film. The spot was created by The Marketing Arm in collaboration with the Walt Disney Studios.
The Marketing Arm, which revived Jake as a spokescharacter in its first work in 2020 for State Farm, has also been boosting the brand’s gaming content in order to better attract younger Gen Z customers. State Farm recently brought back its “Gamerhood” gaming series on Twitch and YouTube for a second season.
Targeting younger customers is a strategy all insurers are exploring as the category faces pressures including climate change, rising prices and new competition from startups.
Several insurers have been limiting where they do business as a result of environmental issues such as wildfires and flooding. Earlier this week, Farmers Insurance said it will no longer offer insurance policies in Florida, for example. State Farm has limited its business in California.
At the same time, new brands are ramping up their own offerings. Startup insurer Lemonade, which is powered by AI, debuted its first-ever brand campaign this week as it seeks to raise awareness about its offerings. The campaign emphasized the differences between the modern insurance upstart and more established, larger insurance brands.
Some of the challenges are already taking a toll. Last year, State Farm reported a net loss of $6.7 billion, its most unprofitable year ever. In 2021, the brand had a net profit of $1.3 billion. Much of the 2022 loss was attributed to underwriting losses in State Farm’s automotive business. Allstate and Geico also lost money from car insurance last year.
Contributing: E.J. Schultz