I don’t watch TV often. I watch TV shows, sure, but there’s something so different about sitting in front of a cable (or satellite)-enabled TV that’s a very different experience from watching it in full screen on your computer. First thing I noticed: companies really want you to buy auto insurance. You might not have even noticed it before, but I noticed it, like some vast conspiracy operating in broad daylight. I don’t know the logistics on why or how they pick to spend so many dollars on advertising on television ads, but they certainly did. I took some time to examine this strange field of advertisements.
Progressive ads used to be pretty typical, but with the emergence of the perky Flo in a retail store setting, Progressive had a cute character you could relate to. Oh sure, maybe some thought those silver Progressive SUVs with the large body stickers were pretty cute, but Flo has brought a ton of character to an otherwise standard agency.
State Farm has been around for ages and its ads used to demonstrate this. Slow pans over their logo in soft-focus, then fades to golden fields and farms reminded me of my grandparents rather than a cool, necessary component of car ownership. The company recently retooled their approach with a new logo and hip new campaign that, like many of the other providers, embraces humor as a selling point. Unfortunately, State Farm’s ads just aren’t funny, they’re super flat punchlines. In fact, they have title cards that indicate they’re part of some series you should be paying attention to. It’s bizarre. My favorite spot of their new batch, however…
A division of Allstate, the next lister, you may remember Esurance’s big campaign featuring Stephen Silver-inspired flatly-animated action sequences featuring Erin, the pink-haired superspy. I don’t know how I would buy car insurance after seeing them and apparently, they didn’t work. So they transitioned to some kind of awkward in-office call center set featuring a batch of caricatures offering varieties of discounts, some were pretty cute, that ultimately didn’t last long either. Instead, Esurance has settle on a more traditional campaign narrated by The Office’s John Krasinski.
I didn’t pay much attention to Allstate ads before Dennis Haysbert’s rich, dark voice asked “are you in good hands?” While Haysbert still has a series of ads, Allstate seems to have turned their attention to the new extremely popular Mayhem ads starring Dean Winter as a variety of miscellaneous hazards to your vehicle, home, or life. Every ad has been golden, so we should enjoy them before Allstate changes their mind.
GEICO’s easily had the most consistently humorous ads as far back as I can remember. It blew my mind a little that the GEICO Gecko was introduced in 1999 and was originally voiced by Kelsey Grammer in an ad I remember instantly. He’s changed a bit over the years, but GEICO has had a number of side campaigns over the years, including the current “Better Than” (below) and “Piggy” forks. Their ads are still some of the best out there, but I feel the Gecko is nearing the end of his appeal.
Oh God. These are the worst. If you’re ever stuck watching TruTV or G4 for an extended period of time, you’ll get your fill of ads from these guys. Produced for roughly $100 each and featuring the worst CGI possible, I just… look, just… I can’t.