Starting next week, State Farm will have a series of animated digital shorts featuring Steve Harvey -- comic, author, actor and host of the nationally syndicated "Steve Harvey Morning Show." The shorts, the first of which launches Oct. 19 in time for National Teen Driver Safety Week, have Harvey riffing on various topics dealing with people's lives.
The 48 digital shorts, via State Farm's African-American AOR SandersWingo, will roll out over the course of the next 12 months. The agency says the videos, on HarveyKnowsBest.com, can also be viewed on smartphones and MP3 players.
The video shorts have a photo-montage cutout of Harvey performing standup. As he riffs on things like how to shop for fruit and vegetables at the grocery and the absurdity of having a 40th birthday party, animated illustrations of the themes play out around him.
State Farm and SandersWingo gave Harvey general topics and let him go from there, per a company spokesperson, who says the point was not to do comedy about insurance. "It's strictly comedy. Even the teen-driving one. The agency sent a crew to Atlanta [Harvey's base] and he did his thing."
She says Harvey, whose show State Farm has been a sponsor of for three years, promoted a State Farm-sponsored weight loss program, "The 50-Million Pound Challenge."
"He does call-ins with Dr. Ian Smith, who founded the challenge, promoting it on his show. We saw a big response when people talked about the Challenge on the show, so we knew how big an emotional connection he had with listeners. Since then, we have been looking for ways to further the relationship."
According to the company's spokesperson, the new effort is not intended to appeal solely to the African-American market, although it was produced by the company's African-American market agency. "It's really for everyone," she says.