How State Farm Turned a Viral Ad Into an Award-Winning Content Campaign
Viral video success doesn’t happen often. For brands, especially in industries like insurance, consumers treat their content as an uninspiring necessity – not a source of entertainment and inspiration.
But when content fortune does strike, big audience opportunities follow – if you have the agility and an effective strategy to capitalize on them.
State Farm did all that in its integrated Jazz Bath: The Bath Bomb Sessions campaign. With help from its creative agency, The Marketing Arm (TMA), the brand turned the viral asset into a fully integrated content platform that drove ongoing audience engagement and brand affinity.The viral success of Jake from @StateFarm explaining “personal” to NFL QB @PatrickMahomes propelled State Farm and @wearetma_agency to expand their #content reach, says @Joderama via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet
It’s a lesson in best practices for this 2023 Content Marketing Awards Project of the Year finalist.
1. Capitalize on resonant connections
Star-studded stunt-casting is a popular ad approach, especially during the National Football League’s season. To stand out, viewers need to see the celebrity cameo as relevant to their interests and associate it with the brand’s valuable offerings.
State Farm achieved this by reinforcing the audience’s proven trust in its khakis-and-red-shirt clad spokes-character – Jake from State Farm – for an ad airing throughout the 2022 season. The Bath Bomb ad aired a humorous conversation between Jake and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
The spot promotes the insurer’s personal price plan. Patrick gets a little too personal by revealing that he’s “a bath bomb guy.” While Jake clears up the misperception about the “personal” product, the enrobed quarterback proceeds with his relaxation ritual of soaking in a tub filled with scented bath oils in the middle of the workout room, no less. Then, the team’s equipment guy (played by actor/comedian Mark Sipka) pops in with his saxophone to add the musical ambiance.
2. Listen for creative opportunities
Insurance isn’t associated with fun, relaxation, or celebrity spa habits. Yet, the off-beat spot sparked a frenzy of positive feedback on social media. Many (like @TayloreHemnes in the example below) used the campaign’s hashtag #JazzBath on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to express interest in creating their own jazz bath experience.
3. Jump in before sentiment has time to cool
State Farm recognized the clear opportunity to extend the brand’s moment of cultural resonance. But building on that momentum would take swift action, smooth coordination, and a splash of inspiration.
Wasting no time, TMA took the bath ball and turned it into a jazzy multimedia campaign. The lynchpin? They worked with professional jazz musicians to record six original tracks. The resulting CD – Jazz Bath: The Bath Bomb Sessions – enabled Jazz Bath fans to enjoy a personal relaxation journey.@StateFarm’s agency, @wearetma_agency, turned the #video success of its Jazz Bath ad spot into a free, original six-track CD, says @Joderama via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet
To streamline orders of the free CD (while they lasted), TMA created a microsite: MyJazzBath.com. (Now that the campaign is over, the URL redirects traffic to State Farm’s main page.) Banner ads and online videos promoted the disc and extended the campaign’s reach.
4. Invite influencers to dive in, too
Even hit campaigns can have a short shelf life in a noisy content landscape. Once the audience’s excitement winds down, they can quickly lose interest and move on. Promoting your viral content is the best way to ensure your brand stays on their minds, holds their interest, and drives them to act.
State Farm didn’t drop the ball on this crucial step. To help get its tunes onto fans’ bath-time playlists, the agency used a trusted content marketing play: partnering with influencers.
According to TMA, State Farm enlisted the help of the campaign’s stars and partnered with high-profile influencers (including @Courtschaos and @Baileyspinn) on TikTok to push the album on social media.
Media partners were called as well. Spotify shared a branded playlist featuring all six tunes from the CD, including Who’s Ready? (For a Jazz Bath) and I’m Not Crying (There’s Soap in My Eyes).
5. Reinforce enjoyment with related content
A single viral content hit rarely equates to long-term marketing results. But by extending an experience the audience enjoys, you can reinforce the value they receive – and increase the likelihood they’ll take direct action with your business.
For Jazz Bath, the agency kept the initial spot’s relaxing vibes alive with other campaign videos. For example, in the spot below, Jeff, the equipment manager who brought the saxophone to the original ad, pitches his debut CD by parodying a 1990s-era infomercial:
The agency followed that up with the Jazz Bath Hotline interactive content feature. Fans who called (866) JAZZ-BATH were treated to a message from Jeff with his tips for winding down and chilling out.
Cool jazz, hot results
Within a week, all 11,000 copies of The Bath Bomb Sessions CD sold out. Even better, according to TMA, the campaign connected with State Farm’s hard-to-reach target audience of millennials. Getting them jazzed up about a “dull” topic like insurance led to impressive marketing results.
According to TMA, those results included:
- 125.6 million impressions
- 13.3 million-plus video views
- 8.5 million-plus earned impressions
- 201,100 engagements
- 6,0000-plus streams on Spotify
- 30,000-plus visits to JazzBath.com
- Nearly 1,000 calls to the Jazz Bath hotline
On top of capturing the cultural zeitgeist, the campaign garnered recognition for TMA among its industry peers: It won the Content Marketing Award for Most Innovative Content Distribution Strategy. It also took the top prize at the 15th Shorty Awards in the humor, comedy video category and received an honorable mention in the humor, financial services category.
Tune in, turn up the volume, and soak in success
With a smart strategy, you can turn a surprise hit into a well-orchestrated, multi-platform campaign. Not only will that squeeze more marketing value from your most popular content assets, but it can also get you showered with attention from your audience.
Will State Farm’s Jazz Bath add a Content Marketing Award for Project of the Year to its impressive achievements? Register to attend Content Marketing World, where the winner will be announced on September 28.
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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute