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Today, advertising is as much a part of our lives as breathing. Whether we’re driving, listening to the radio, or watching T. V we are constantly being bombarded by thousands of companies telling us why we should buy their products or services. Some advertisements prove to be effective, while others can be easily dismissed. One very popular industry in advertisement is auto insurance.
Every year companies like Geico, State Farm, and All State invest millions of dollars, hoping to convince audiences that their service is better than their competitors.
Because auto insurance is a requirement for every single individual who owns a vehicle it is a very competitive market where various ad campaigns can be found. State Farm stands out amongst these companies with their creative incorporation’s of Aristotle’s rhetorical techniques to capture their audience and deliver their message of reliable service.
Among the many ad campaigns created by the company one of the most memorable is their “magic jingle” campaign. The commercials feature customers in various inconvenient scenarios where an insurance agent may be needed.
The customers then proceed to sing the “magic jingle” (like a good neighbor State Farm is there…) and an insurance agent will magically appear to help resolve their issue, along with other ridiculous requests. While the granting of these ridiculous requests make the ads humorous; therefore, memorable, they emphasize what the company feels is their advantage over their competitors: immediate and excellent service.
In one of these commercials, two young men are sitting in their car in what appears to be the middle of nowhere, eating burgers when they are suddenly attacked by a herd of buffalo.
In desperation, the passenger asks his friend to do the jingle and after doing so an agent appears in the car and proceeds to say: “like a good neighbor State Farm is there…In my office! ” Immediately the three men are zapped into the man’s office and there are sighs of relief. The ad is directed towards young men, a clever move, because young men are often the ones who find themselves in desperate situations while driving. The immediate response from singing the jingle which made the agent appear followed by his immediate action to lead the young men to safety emphasizes State Farm’s motto of immediate and excellent service.
The humor used in delivering this message introduces the use of pathos, or emotion, which help in making it memorable. Pathos is also reinforced with the sighs of relief released by the young men; emphasizing the fact that with State Farm’s reliability you can count on being stress free. The concept of ethos, or image is also present in the commercial with the professional attire on the agent as well as the professional setting when they are zapped into his office. The well put together, professional setting, with employees to match increases the company’s credibility.
While the scenario is unlikely and there are clear fictional aspects to the commercial, the use of pathos in the humor and relief makes it very memorable and the point is very clearly put across: if you ever find yourself in a desperate situation, you can count on your State Farm agent to get it resolved. Another “magic jingle” commercial that helps emphasize the company’s great service features a young woman, along with two of her friends who finds the side of her car completely scratched. Unlike the instance with the buffalo, the woman remains completely calm and recites the magic jingle.
An agent suddenly appears and once her friends see that reciting the jingle can make anything appear, they too recite it and make the perfect man appear on top of the car. As in the previous example, the commercial emphasizes State Farm’s reliability. This time however, there is no desperation because the young woman is so certain that her agent will get things resolved. Just like the previous commercial, the ad uses pathos to convince their audience, assuring them that State Farm will allow them to be stress free.
The granting of the friends wishes for the perfect man helps to reinforce the aspect of great service because it represents the company’s ability to go above and beyond for their customers. Again, pathos is presented through humor, making the ad memorable and reinforcing the company’s point: when you have State Farm there is no need for desperation because they have you covered. Ethos is also once again reinforced through the agent’s professional attire, creating an ethical image for the company. The next memorable ad in the campaign takes a different twist, because rather than promoting auto insurance, it promotes home insurance.
In this scenario, a group of young men are sitting at home when a baseball suddenly breaks through the homeowner’s window. As his friends begin to freak out, the homeowner maintains the same relaxed attitude as the female from the previous example and recites the magic jingle. Seeing his friends in shock as an agent magically appears he encourages them to recite the jingle and make a request, which they follow by asking for a sandwich, a pretty girl, and a hot tub. Once again, pathos is used with the ridiculous requests show the company’s willingness to go above and beyond for their customers.
The owner’s relaxed attitude show’s that State Farm customers are at ease because they know they can trust their agent to get things done. This ad also helps to show that the company has various types of insurance to offer and that they are all as reliable as their auto insurance. Overall, State Farm’s magic jingle campaign is successful because not only do its use of humor and repetitive use of the jingle make it memorable, but they also find clever ways to remind viewers of the company’s reliability.
This successfully incorporates the use of pathos, making it easy to convince viewers that if they join the company they will feel just as relaxed as the people in their commercial. They also touch upon ethos with the presentation of their agents who are always in professional attire. This reminds viewers that despite the goofy nature of their advertisements they are still a serious and professional company. The campaign also successfully incorporates the various services the company has to offer and the fact that they are just as reliable and professional as the auto insurance.