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State Farm Debuts 1st Super Bowl Ad With NFL Stars

Screenshot / State Farm
State Farm will air its first-ever Super Bowl ad on Sunday; it features Jake from State Farm, along with NFL quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers.

State Farm will air its first Super Bowl ad on Sunday, featuring Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, alongside Jake from State Farm.

Rand Harbert is State Farm's executive vice president and chief agency, sales and marketing officer. He said the campaign has been in the works for nearly a year. State Farm filmed with the NFL stars over the summer, he said, not knowing it would premiere during the big game.

“The two quarterbacks had a great year. So, we came back and shot kind of the backside of the commercial with all the other characters here in the last couple months,” Harbert said.

Harbert said State Farm is in a good position to debut a Super Bowl ad this year. He said the company did a lot of rebranding work a year ago—revamping its logo, doubling down on the “like a good neighbor” slogan, and reintroducing Jake from State Farm.

Some might remember Jake making an appearance during last year’s Super Bowl, but Harbert said that’s not quite true.

"They (the marketing team) were able to get the last spot before the Super Bowl starts,” Harbert said. “As you can imagine, the costs are way less. It's just really hard to obtain that time because everyone wants it. It was really perfect. Just think: How many eyeballs are on TV sets ready for the kickoff?”

Harbert declined to say how much State Farm spent on this year’s ad. CBS opened the bidding for 30-second commercial spots for Super Bowl LV at $5.6 million.

Harbert said it’s well worth the investment.

“It's expensive to do a Super Bowl ad, but also the reach of an ad like this is unprecedented,” he said. “With over 100 million viewers, we just think it's a great opportunity.”

Some longtime advertisers, including Budweiser and Coca Cola, are forgoing Super Bowl ads this year and instead donating those dollars to pandemic relief.

Harbert said State Farm is dedicated to philanthropy—pandemic or not. He said advertising costs are unrelated to the company’s charitable giving.

“State Farm spent $60 million (last) year into philanthropic activities around the country. We spent $25 million as it relates to putting dollars into communities during the pandemic—and did all the way down to agents being able to support their communities to broader support,” Harbert said.

“In addition, during the pandemic, we did a dividend of $2 billion, which we put back in the pockets of our customers.”

State Farm’s ad will air during the first half of the Super Bowl. Watch a preview here:

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Dana Vollmer is a reporter with WGLT. Dana previously covered the state Capitol for NPR Illinois and Peoria for WCBU.
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