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State Farm Exec Doing Double Take at Success of Company's Seemingly Routine Aaron Rodgers Spots

10/10/2012 02:24:26 PM Eastern

Aaron Rodgers
gets no respect from people in State Farm ads that portray residents
of Green Bay. Fortunately for State Farm, the way they have seamlessly
connected Rodgers' touchdown championship belt maneuver to its Discount Double
Check move has garnered the insurance company a tremendous amount of respect
and awareness.

In his first
spot for the insurance firm, a couple who meet the Packers' quarterback at a
Green Bay State Farm office laugh at his claim that he is a professional
quarterback and even take ownership of his touchdown belt dance by turning it
into their own Discount Double Check move.

In subsequent
ads, Rodgers is upstaged by his Packers teammates, Clay Matthews and B.J. Raji.
And in every spot in which Rodgers appears, he is mocked by a man decked out in
a Green Bay jersey and wearing a cheese head, who yells at him, "Hey, Rodgers!
Discount Double Check!"

Now, in a new
spot for State Farm that broke during NFL games this past Sunday, Rodgers
gets dissed by kids when he shows up at a grade school for Career Day.

Todd Fischer,
manager of marketing communications for State Farm, said that the company
re-ran previous commercials starring Rodgers during the week before the new
spot broke to reconnect the message with consumers. "We wanted to remind people
of its origin when they saw the new TV spot."

Fisher also said
that State Farm could not have driven awareness of its Discount Double Check
policy-in which State Farm reviews a customer's auto policy to ensure they are
getting the best discount-on its own and needed it to be viral and organic.

"When you see
Steve Novak of the New York Knicks do the Discount Double Check move
after hitting a three-point shot, or sportscasters and announcers using the
term during games, it shows us that it has taken on a life of its own," Fischer
said of the Rodgers' ads during last week's IMG Sports Symposium (under the
auspices of SportsBusiness Journal).

The new spot, "State
of Detention (Career Day)," opens with Rodgers standing in a classroom
alongside a police officer, a firefighter, a doctor, a State Farm agent and
other professionals.

"Up next for
Career Day, quarterback Aaron Rodgers," says the teacher.

As the kids
applaud, one girl inquires of Rodgers, "That State Farm agent says she helps
people. What do you do?"

"I play
football," he smiles. "That's not a job," another girl replies, sacking Rodgers'
smile into a frown.

"Did you save my
dad hundreds with the Discount Double Check?" a boy asks as he does a
mini-version of the move. "No," responds Rodgers, "but I was MVP last year."

Another girl
takes Rodgers down a few more notches. "Mr. Hubble says that trophies are for
people with low self-esteem issues."

"Who is Mr.
Hubble?!" asks Rodgers. The kids point to a dad near Rodgers. As Rodgers gives
him a mean stare, the guy pulls off his nametag. "That's Ron Hubble," he says,
pointing to the class teacher. "No it's not," the accused teacher responds.

The closing shot
sees a kid wearing a cheese head banging on a window. "Hey, Rodgers," he shouts
in a raspy voice imitating the older Packers' fan from earlier commercials. "Discount
Double Check."

A voiceover then
offers, "For savings, we're best in class."

Fischer said he
is still amazed at how Rodgers has helped drive awareness of what had been a
rather dry and routine company policy. "You now have instantaneous feedback
with customers," Fischer said. "Public perception was clamoring for more, more
brand messaging, more understanding of what Discount Double Check was."

State Farm has
been associated with Major League Baseball's Home Run Derby since
2007 and also is driving its Double Discount Check message through a spot
starring Kerry Woods and Andre Dawson, both former stars for the Chicago Cubs.
State Farm's lead agency is DDB, Chicago.

Rodgers is also
on the airwaves in ads for Pizza Hut and has deals with companies that
include Nike and Wisconsin-based firms such as Prevea Health, Associated Bank,
Gruber Law Offices and local Ford truck dealers.

Regarding the
minimal use of the Discount Double Check move in the new spot, which evolved
from Rodgers' imitation of putting on a championship belt after his team scored
a touchdown, Fischer explained, "People know what it is. Even Rodgers doesn't
use it during games anymore."

And regarding
the recent game that ended in controversy when the Packers lost to
the Seattle Seahawks on a Hail Mary play called by the then-replacement
refs, Fischer said, "We saw no immediate impact from that. It was a blip on the
radar screen. We have seen a lot worse when it comes to the behavior of athletes
across the league.

But he did
admit, "There will always be an association between Rodgers and that play-just
as there will always be an association between Rodgers and State Farm's
Discount Double Check."

(This article is reprinted with permission from
NYSportsJournalism.com
)

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