Thursday, February 16, 2012

Like a grim reaper, State Farm is there

This commercial is really weird, right? It's not just me?

Wife: "My husband Hank was always fun. Never took life too seriously."

Sad piano. Use of the past tense.

Wife: "Till our son was born. That day he bought life insurance."

Mention of life insurance. Serious-looking woman.

Wife: "Now there's no way I could send our boy to college without it."

Mention of using life insurance. Use of the first-person singular pronoun.

Wife: "If there's one thing I could say to Hank, it'd be 'Thank you.'"

Implication that speaking to Hank would be impossible, because he is dead.

Hank: "You're welcome."
Wife: "Hey, Hank."

Oh, she just sounds like she wishes he was dead. So really, while all that other stuff seems like nothing more than cheap misdirection in hindsight, don't you kind of get the feeling that this woman secretly fantasizes about her husband dying?

Announcer: "Life insurance you can use while you're still living."

Um... really? Well, let's check out the State Farm website.

Permanent life insurance policies offer financial protection in the event of your death. But did you know that they can also help you build cash value you can use in your lifetime? In fact, the cash value you build can grow into a sizeable asset that you can access by loans and withdrawals.

I don't claim to be the most financially savvy person. And perhaps someone more learned on this topic will feel free to educate me in the comments. But something about this sounds really problematic. I get that it makes sense to allow people to have early access to a potential life insurance payout lest they reach a point where they're too old to use much of it or the whole family dies in the same plane crash or something. But then, isn't that really how insurance works? You pay a fairly small premium compared to the potential payout, and the insurance company is effectively gambling that you won't ever get to collect the big money. There must be another shoe dropping here.

Unpaid loans and withdrawals will reduce the death benefit and policy cash value. Loans also accrue interest.

There it is. So look, I'm sure it was nice to have that money to send your son to college, but when Hank actually DOES die, you're pretty much screwed, lady.

Hank: "You are one lucky lady!"
Wife: [now actively thinking about killing him herself] "Mmmm-hmmmm."

I get the joke they were obviously going for, but this commercial is super morbid. And the message and tone are really undercut by the fact that the wife clearly cannot STAND her husband! (Oh, State Farm made an ad in which spouses weren't thrilled with each other? You don't say.) The whole thing is just awkward, and frankly kind of creepy.


Quivering P. Landmass said...

But surely this lady's State Farm agent is omnipotent, like all State Farm agents. So she can take all the loans out she wants on her husband's life insurance, and when he has a fatal heart attack -- BOOM like a good neighbor, State Farm is there -- with a wizard who can raise the dead!

ConstruX NunchuX said...

Dammit! I was gonna do the same joke. Doin it anyway:

"Like a good neighbor. State Farm is there... with a shovel... and an alibi."

martienne said...

All State Farm is doing is repackaging and marketing whole life insurance, which has been losing market share to term life policies for years. They're basically marketing it to people who have never heard of the concept, but have heard "buying whole life is a bad idea" without understanding why.

Anonymous said...

For a while, there were some unique tax advantages to this setup... for some situations. The Roth IRA decreases that, but it still could be viable (though admittedly unsettlingly lame) way to get money to have tax deferred growth.

So you are right that in most cases this approach is shitty, and they are shitty to market it to the general public under these auspices... but its only coincidence because you don't know what you're talking about!

Mr Diz said...

I agree with the above comments with what State Farm is marketing their services towards The truth is ALL insurance policies are scams so that's nothing new. Yet I do disagree with you on how you view the Ad. Are you married? Do you have kids? Those are genuine feelings when you can't stand the one you love. That's the humor the dark side of things that run through our heads. Like when you tell a child they can't go out to a party because of bad grades and they yell I hate you! As a parent that hurts so much that want to smack the mess out of that child. It's a feeling- you don't have to react to it, but you feel it. Plus ad writers now-a-days are comedian writers who really want to write Film and sitcoms. I like your blog!