State Farm Will Be Back

Talk about pumping it up.

State Farm Insurance earns an MVP award (most valuable promo) for a 15-second Super Bowl teaser for a 60-second commercial masquerading as a “trailer” for a “blockbuster movie," as part of a five-and-a half-minute segment on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” which itself is a “paid partnership” masquerading as a regular celeb guest appearance.

Got that?

On Jan. 31, as he’s done many times before, host Jimmy Fallon interviewed the former immigrant Austrian bodybuilder turned movie star turned California governor and now environmentalist Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is something of a chameleon as well, considering all the roles he has played in his lifetime.

In his comically self-deprecating way, Ahnold seems to be at once a preening egomaniac, a genial everyman, and a deluded star who’s losing it by insisting that a commercial is a giant movie.



First, they show the “poster.”  Arnie is particularly proud that his name is in giant block letters --“Arnold Schwarzenegger is Agent State Farm” --above the title, which the sometime Conan the Barbarian says is a big accomplishment for him. The good-natured Jake from State Farm is pictured on the poster, too, and Arnold says that one of the reasons he agreed to do the movie is “to work with Jake.”  

As Arnold lists all the facets of a real action film,  just to hear him mouth the word  “explosions” in his Teutonic accent  is a good time.

Jimmy acts perplexed, but goes along to show the “clip,” standard behavior with guests promoting their projects.

The clip airs for less than two seconds, which is hysterical.

It’s practically static, but does show a cockeyed Arnold, sporting his red State Farm polo shirt and a beard, standing with his arm up, silently screaming, in front of a fiery CGI screen, with the flames about to engulf him.

Jimmy asks him why the trailer is so short. Straight-faced, the Governator says they didn’t want to reveal the entire 60-second movie.

And really, these days, when so much media is on commercial steroids -- opportunistic, permeable, and everywhere -- the distinctions are becoming obsolete.

I thought “Barbie” was at bottom a brilliant, incisive, and super-entertaining two-hour commercial that should pave the way for future ads.

As part of the Super Bowl preview, both State Farm agents, Arnie and Jake, also did a “Pup Quiz” show with Jimmy Fallon as host, and actual puppies as prizes, on Facebook. It was as warmhearted as it gets.

I don’t know what the reaction to the 60-second movie/ad appearing Feb. 11 during the end of the first quarter, will show.

It was created by High Dive (working with various marketing agencies. OMD, and Fleishman-Hillard. It takes a village.

Ironically, Arnold’s ability to make self-deprecating fun of his extreme Governator self is exactly what gives him his career longevity.

As for neighborly State Farm, way to extend your 15 seconds.

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