Sunday, February 19, 2012

The unwatchable journey

In the nearly five years I've been writing for this blog, we've had a number of running targets - Raisin Bran Crunch (in order: here, here, here, here, and here), Burger King (too many to list them all, as we've written fully fourteen Burger King posts, but here are three of my favorites), Crispin Porter + Bogusky in general (this Quivering P. Landmass post is my personal favorite), and so forth. But I don't think I've ever been moved to write about the same ad campaign three times in eight days. Congratulations, State Farm!



Agent: "One of the best things about State Farm is our accessibility."
Guy: "Oh yeah?"
Agent: "You can call us 24/7, get quotes online, start a claim with our smartphone app - you name it, we're here, any time, anywhere, any way you want it."


"Any way you want it?" Gee, that's an awfully uncommon turn of phrase to bust out there. It's almost like you're setting something up.

Guy: "That's the way I need it."
Agent: "Any way you want it."
Guy: "All night?"
Agent: "All night."
Guy: "Every night?"
Agent: "Any way you want it."
Guy: "That's the way I need it."


This is already pretty stupid. But you know what would be way stupider? Addressing what just happened as though it were somehow a natural part of the conversation, or in any way not just some bullshit thrown together because someone inexplicably thought it would make for an amusing ad.

Guy: "We just had ourselves a little Journey moment there."

Oh, writers of this ad. What were you thinking? You guys are as cold as ice. You're willing to sacrifice our love! Hmm, bit of a Foreigner moment there. Rest assured that was completely organic, just a natural extension of what I was already writing. Because I'm hot blooded. Check it and see!

Agent: "Yup."
Guy: "Saw 'em in '83 in Fresno. Place was crawling with chicks."
[Guy's wife looks over angrily]
Guy: "I gotta go."


Just in case you thought we'd get out of one of these ads without some sort of relationship issue: nope. State Farm is getting really good at sowing marital discord, aren't they? I picture this agent meeting up with Jake at some all-night diner and chuckling about all the relationships they've ruined through their jobs in the insurance industry.

And then they end the ad by playing the actual Journey version of "Any Way You Want It." Here's the thing: if the song is famous enough to be used the way it's used in this ad, then it should also be famous enough that you don't need to ram down our throats that you're using it. Playing the song at the end of the ad would have worked perfectly for your purposes. Doing the stupid song-lyrics banter, then being like "HEY THAT WAS JOURNEY DID EVERYONE CATCH THAT THAT WAS JOURNEY," and then also playing Journey at the end of the ad... at that point I really just feel like you're insulting my intelligence...

...faithfully. (Nailed it! Totally natural!)

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Did the authors of this site used to write a blog about a specific comic strip?

Anonymous said...

Oh, well, room for lots of contrary opinions. I thought this was a great ad - cute. I'll remember the ad for some time. And I didn't find it an insult to my intelligence.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad that someone has written about this. Every time I see it, it makes me so angry. The part that infuriates me is when the husband say, "...the place was crawling with chicks." Which obviously alludes to the idea that he has a wandering eye, and somehow we're supposed to find this funny??? Disgusting.

Anonymous said...

ur a cynic. state farm ads are entertaining for its imtended crowd.

as if ur foreigner pun isn't played? yes we get it black kettle

Anonymous said...

It feels like another good old boy knock at women. I can't stand it. Of course, it's on AMC tonight during Mad Men season opener.

Anonymous said...

Amen. It pisses me off, too. Just when women are totally being disenfranchised in society and by the GOP, major corporations think its ok for them to do it, too.

Anonymous said...

My interpretation of this commercial is that the two men had an unplanned homoerotic exchange, and as a reaction, the caller had to assert that he was straight by bringing up that the concerrt in '83 was "crawling with chicks". His wife overhears this, and of course is angry. That's why the commercial is funny. It has nothing to do with ruining a relationship or disparaging women. It's a play on sexuality.

Anonymous said...

To me...when he said "The place was crawling with chicks" was a way to assure the guy on the other end of the line he was not gay.

Any way you want it
That's the way I need it
All night long

Between two guys? I don't know...sounds like they have the hots for each other.

Anonymous said...

The ad is just gay. I hate it. I think they make reference to chicks at the end because u get the impression that these two guys want to kiss or something. If anything, it makes me not want to buy anything they are selling.

Anonymous said...

Completely disagree about him having a wondering eye. 1983 was almost 30 years ago. The guy isnt that old, looks to be in his 40s. He more than likely would not have been married in 1983. He would have been a young teenager. He's alluding to being young, partying, probably hooking up with a chick at the concert WHEN HE WAS SINGLE. But he realizes he shouldn't be reliving his younger wilder days with his wife around.

Anonymous said...

I have NEVER BEEN SO.... Uninfuriated IN MY LIFE!! Good thing not getting SO UPSET didnt give me a CORONARY. I thought i saw the guy in the Hyundai so i googled the tagline from the State Farm and, well...didnt know it was Blogworthy insulence...insulance? Whatever. Hey , someone did SOMETHING for a Klondike Bar. Raaaaaaaage

Anonymous said...

I am confused about the Comments about people complaing about seeing the chicks in 73 i did not hear that he was married in 73

Anonymous said...

Some people have nothing better to do with their time than bitch, bitch, bitch... it is what it is, & I've seen alot worse, so shut up & get a life!

Woff said...

Ridiculous. It was an amusing ad, leading us quickly down a quirky path, culminating with a funny little statement ("Journey moment") and ending with a hetero/macho attempted face saver. Good theater and excellent commercial (we all remember the name State Farm).

And then, of course, ostensible politically-correct griping by fem-lib types in the comments. The guy was talking about a moment 25 years ago! Lighten up, ladies.

Anonymous said...

Ur an idiot if u like this retarded commercial

Anonymous said...

I hate all the state farm commercials! Everytime I see one I wanna fire my remote or something hard at my tv screen. Especially this journey reference one I absolutely hate its not funny its not clever its completely lame! The only thing stopping me from firing my remote is my 70 inch hd tv.

Anonymous said...

Hey you know what? It's just a fucking commercial!!!! What the hell is wrong with people that they just gotta find some mundane shit to bitch about all the time? What, are there just too many real problems out there to face that you have to take things like a damn state farm commercial this serious and go on a (very typical "oh how politically incorrect and wrong this ad is and must be stopped!" tirade?? It's just a damn commercial, and you know what? It WAS funny! And I hate state farm from having personally dealt with their incompitence, as a customer. But shit, this commercial was actually funny. So I wonder how many of your heads blow up everytime you see the dr.pepper ads that claim their new version is "not for women". Uptight whiny people invented political correctness and seem to think we should all as a whole worry about insignificant things like commercials, or words people say, but I would much rather focus on real significant problems we face....none of which are 30 second spots on my tv.

mjmpgh said...

What "they" had was a little homosexual momment

Anonymous said...

Mind if I borrow that stick?

Anonymous said...

The ad is great! Very Sienfeld. The guy doesn't have a wondering eye, he was at the concert before he met his wife. Get off your reality horses people. You proububly said "I'm shure whene E-T flew over the moon in the film E-T.