State Farm is not much better. Unlike a good neighbor, their commercials are in my face constantly when I’m trying to watch the news. And their marketing people have struck upon the most brilliant of ad strategies: the company appears to grant insane wishes to policyholders in trouble. Bob Barker appears suddenly at the accident scene, with that awful microphone that looks like you should be performing a colonoscopy with it. Policyholders stand next to their wrecked cars, transforming into super-models upon request (those requests coming from their spouses, of course).
The clever thing is that State Farm can’t be accused of false advertising, because they are employing what I call “hyperbolic humor”. The company can make the “claim” that they are just being funny, and not depicting the type of service a policyholder would actually receive. This should be obvious to anyone with half a brain. Unfortunately, I’d say a good three quarters of the folks in this country have less than half a brain, so this type of ad campaign could be quite dangerous (read: successful).
The marketers who came up with this ad strategy know that this type of hyperbolic humor is analogous to a lawyer making a provocative statement in a court of law and getting his hand slapped by the judge with a sustained objection. The judge then instructs the jury to “disregard the comment”. Except you know they won’t; in fact, they will probably do quite the contrary. It works the same way with these crazy commercials…the masses watching them come away with the subconscious message that State Farm will grant their every ridiculous wish. Score another victory for Madison Avenue putting one over on the American consumer.
And while I still find the Progressive Girl, Flo, somewhat charming, I’m not as entertained as I used to be by those commercials. They could be made more exciting if a few Geico Cavemen swooped in and pulled Flo away by her beehive. Then they could all go to a spa for a group Brazilian wax. (Bet those insurance people could negotiate a whopper of a group rate!) (And when I say ‘group” I mean, it takes a group of people to wax just one Geico caveman.)
Meanwhile, it would be fun to see a commercial showing the poor, hairless Geico Gecko, who has no use for waxing, on his way to meet Bob Barker for his annual colonoscopy. (Hey, even geckos need to take steps to keep their medical insurance premiums down.)
On second thought, maybe our beloved gecko might find a use for some wax, after all.