iHeartLand State Farm Rocks Ed Sheeran In Fortnite Experience

iHeartRadio has created an immersive brand experience with singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran in iHeartLand’s State Farm Park. The special, hosted by iHeartLand’s State Farm Park, took place in the online video game Fortnite to celebrate new music from the Grammy-winning artist.

Alyson Griffin, vice president of marketing at State Farm, said it felt amazing to have the brand's assets appear in an unexpected place to deliver this experience for consumers.

The program supported the company’s “good-neighbor vibes."

Fans navigated musical worlds in iHeartLand’s State Farm Park inspired by Sheeran’s songs released late in September -- songs including “Eyes Closed,” “Shape of You,” “and “Life Goes On.”

The event, an all-access experience for fans, runs through today.

“A logo sponsorship no longer cuts it," said Griffin. "You have to fire the dopamine and the serotonin in people’s brains. They have to hold your brand, feel it, and experience it.”



Griffin came to State Farm two years ago from Intel, where she supported the chipmaker as vice president of global marketing. “That’s what we did in tech,” she said. “You need the jingle, to have consumers interact with the brand.”

The Sheeran special became the first third-party music experience built using Epic Games’ Unreal Editor for Fortnite, a tool to build experiences in the platform.

“We’ve been in metaverse-like arenas for many years,” Griffin said. “Jake from State Farm was the first non-playable character in NBA 2K, an avatar-like figure that players can interact with. We had already been doing that long before the word 'metaverse' existed.”

From the NBA 2K campaign, State Farm learned whether people will even talk to an insurance character. That was the first roadblock. People wearing khakis and a red shirt during the game became markers for success. State Farm took those triggers and applied it to the metaverse in campaign such as the Ed Sheeran experience.

State Farm worked with developer Atlas Creative to measure insights such as attendance, playtime, and retention to understand the success of the experiences and optimize them for the future.

State Farm partnered with iHeart on its 100-year anniversary in June 2022. At the time the big conversation in the advertising industry floated toward the metaverse. Griffin said the company still sees success in the media. It has managed to secure naming rights within the virtual world, similar to the way it has naming rights in the real world for football stadium and concert venues.

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