DDB and State Farm get real and RAW this week

Yesterday, an African American art director friend and I were looking at a spot for a brand, which will go unnamed, and we both blurted out the same reaction at the same time.

“I’m so tired of Midwest White Boy Humor!” We laughed. Laughed some more. And then talked seriously about what our reaction really meant.

I mean, I am half white, after all.

“MWBH” is really what many of the Midwest agencies would refer to as “beer humor.” It’s kind of a fun-loving, kick-you-in-the-nuts, a little-dorky-at-times joke associated with mostly, well, beer. Sometimes hardware stores and fast food.

DDB's "Backstory" for State Farm

Don’t get me wrong, the broad humor has its place and time. I, myself, presented my fair share of “MWBH” working for a few Chicago shops.

That said, I had begun to see it creep into other brands such as State Farm. And look, I laughed along with the rest of America, at Coneheads and the late-night call to a State Farm agent.

Or hot State Farm agents magically popping up. Aaron Rodgers. It’s easier to laugh at him if you’re not a Packer fan. And of course, who can forget “Droppin’ Dimes?”

But is that kind of humor right for right now? At a time when you have a President tweeting attacks on “Morning Joe” hosts or Sears laying off 400 people? Talk of walls. Especially for an insurance company.

We can table that question today when it comes to State Farm.

DDB's "Backstory" for State Farm

What I love, yes, using the word love here, about State Farm’s new Backstory campaign, using the tagline “Here to Help Life Go Right,” is that it takes a personal look at what really means a lot to regular American people.

Regular is the key word here. Not a sitcom-like set up. Or a parody. Real life. People who feel like you see every day. What looks like a simple thing to you and me, may mean the world to someone else.

What looks like just a truck to most of us means the world to that one guy taking the bus. Or it looks like just a house or chair, but to that person it is the most valuable thing in the world to them.

Each spot is personal, believable and moving, making them RAW for this week.

Created by DDB Chicago, Backstory doesn’t focus on insurance products. Rather, the creative tells the story behind what’s being insured and recognizes the hard work, time and sacrifice these items represent. The campaign shows that State Farm understands the material goods that people insure have a deeper meaning and are worth more than their dollar amount.

DDB Chicago Chief Creative Officer, John Maxham, had this to say about the campaign, “In some sense, our possessions are just material goods with a dollar amount attached. But they also have a deeper meaning in our lives. They represent shared memories, hard work or independence. In this campaign, State Farm positions itself as a company that understands what your things truly mean to you.”

A true 360-campaign, creative for Backstory is running nationally across broadcast, online video platforms and in cinema. Additionally, the campaign is supported by national terrestrial and streaming radio, social media and digital display.

The campaign has a real classic feel to it up there with classic Budweiser or McDonald’s. And that feels right for right now.


 Agency: DDB, Chicago

    Ari Weiss: Chief Creative Officer, DDB North America

    John Maxham: Chief Creative Officer, DDB Chicago

    Mel Routhier: Group Creative Director

    Rua Perston: Creative Director

    Matt Cramp: Creative Director

    Diane Jackson: Chief Production Officer

    Scott Kemper: Executive Producer

    Amy Turner: Senior Producer

    Zoe Grubbe: Production Manager

    Linda Bres: Music Production Manager

    Ben Gladstone: Group Business Director

    Veronica Zamiar: Account Director

    Oliver Glenn: Account Supervisor

    Katie Murphy: Account Executive

    Jack Perone: Chief Strategy Officer

    Neil Kumar: Strategy Director

 Production: Biscuit Filmworks

    Director: Noam Muro

    Partner/Managing Director: Shawn Lacy

    Executive Producer: Rick Jurjoura

    Producer: Charleotte Woodhead

    Head of Production: Mercedes Allen-Sarria/Rachel Glaub

    Director of Photography: Jo Willems

    Production Designer: Bruse McClosky

 Editorial: Work Editorial

    Editor: Neil Smith

    Assistant editor: Erik Vogt-Nilsen

    Producer: Brian Scharwath

    Executive Producer: Marlo Baird

 Post: Freekfolk

    Colorist: Paul Harrison

    Flame Op/Creative Director: Jason Watts

    Executive Producer: Celia Williams

 Music Agency for Supervision and Licensing: Groove Guild

    Partner/Music Supervisor: Al Risi-Truck

    “Break my Bones” by John Taylor

 Audio Post: The DDB Studio

    Audio Engineer: Nicholas Papule

    Assistant: Cameron Aper

Got a spot you’d like to submit for “RAW?” Send along to colin@colincostello.com.

What do you think? Post your comments below!