The advent of social media has prompted a new style of communication between brands and consumers: pre-emptive communication. If you've friended Progressive, State Farm or Allstate on Facebook, for instance, you will have received tips from them in your Facebook stream on how to prepare for Hurricane Alex. I'll have to assume Allstate's five tips aren't rated in order of importance (No. 1: Check your insurance coverage. No. 5: Plan your evacuation.) Progressive, meanwhile, earns points for focusing on safety (as does State Farm) but loses a couple for alternating its dire warning with a prompt to see a new ad starring spokeswoman Flo and Pickles, a dog that does tricks.
The Brooklyn Chicago group OK Go first came to many people's attention with its 2006 video for the song "Here It Goes Again," which featured the band members doing a cool choreographed routine on a bunch of treadmills. Four years later, few people know the band for anything but that video. Now, they're back with a new video for the song "This Too Shall Pass" that, we might as well just say it, is a pretty direct ripoff of the famous 2003 Honda "Cog" ad from Wieden + Kennedy's London office (which was itself of questionable provenance). Whether the band's nonetheless engaging video will work the same magic as "Here It Goes Again" remains to be seen, but there's an interesting backstory: Last month, lead singer Damian Kulash Jr. penned a New York Times op-ed that bemoaned the fact that OK Go's record label, EMI, now frowns on using YouTube as a promo channel. (In fact, in 2006, the band released the video without the label's knowledge.) "In these tight times, it's no surprise that EMI is trying to wring revenue out of everything we make, including our videos," Kulash wrote. "But it needs to recognize the basic mechanics of the Internet. Curbing the viral spread of videos isn't benefiting the company's bottom line, or the music it's there to support." Apparently, though, OK Go has found a way around this barrier. The latest video is sponsored by State Farm, the insurer. So, to recap: Here is a video from a band that rips off an old commercial but is, in fact, a commercial of sorts for State Farm.
LeBron James is now officially the most valuable player of the National Basketball Association. Perhaps more important, he is now arguably the MVP of funny TV commercials. While most of Peyton Manning's ads (the Colts quarterback was the former ubiquitous top athlete adman) have now come and gone, LeBron's State Farm ads never get old. Not only did he star in one of the top spots in AdweekMedia's March Adness competition (as a supposed new member of the Cleveland Browns), his most recent State Farm spot continues to entertain. In the ad, burglars bust into his friend's truck and steal everything but a Kid 'n Play CD. (Perhaps it's extra funny to me because I too had thieves swipe everything in my car except for a John Cougar Mellencamp "cassingle," which they placed on my driver's seat to mock me.) Now, with the MVP honor bestowed upon King James, expect many, many more ads starring the Cleveland Cavalier.
In a new State Farm ad that debuted on Sunday, LeBron James becomes a Cleveland Brown. The basketball star is shown "electrifying football" with his athletic prowess. And LeBron fans are eating it up. The spot generated almost 20,000 views on State Farm's YouTube channel and more than 100,000 views overall. Still, it wasn't too long ago that this type of scenario wasn't a fantasy. Another two-sport star, Bo Jackson, actually did electrify football and made great ads. Of course, if he is going to play two sports, it makes sense that LeBron would choose football and the Cleveland Browns. As we learned a couple of seasons ago, he's not much of a Cleveland baseball fan.