Thursday, November 25, 2010

My Article for the Onion Newspaper

If I worked for The Onion, this is the type of story I would submit:


We all know that slogan. It’s been pounded into our brains just like everything else out there. “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.” Go ahead, try and read it without singing that tune. This has been a part of the famous insurance company since ... I don’t know, but it’s been a long time. Probably since the 60’s or something, because that’s probably still when everyone was being nice to each other. You old-timers remember, whenever you needed any help, you could just walk across the yard and ask good ol’ Tom to come over. Then you would share a cold beer with him. And later he’d invite you to a key party or something. Ah yes, those were the days. Things are totally different now.

Don’t act like you actually answer the door whenever your family comes around, let alone your neighbor. If you need a cup of sugar, and there is none in your cabinets, you drive to the grocery store and get some. In these hard economic times, we can’t be carelessly borrowing things from each other. You don’t go knocking on your neighbors door with a measuring cup in your hand asking, “Can I borrow some sugar?” What if they only have a few cups left themselves? You have just put them in an awkward position. If they don’t give you a cup, they’re an asshole. Am I right? So, they give you a cup. Now your neighbor can’t make his or her sons birthday cake for tomorrow. Way to go, jackass.

All this isolation finally came to the attention of the State Farm Insurance PR team. They realized that their once valid slogan had completely lost it’s meaning. Instead of, “If you’re injured in a car accident, we’ll be there to help just like a friendly neighbor would”, State Farm customers were hearing this, “If you’re injured in a car accident, we’ll turn off the lights and sit quietly in the dark until you leave, like a neighbor would”.

The PR team decided on a few different slogans. The first, “We’re better than your neighbors, because we won’t pretend we don’t know you in the mall”. Focus group’s found this to be too condescending. The next, which didn’t follow the original jingle, “State Farm. When we meet it’s all business. We definitely won’t drag you into a long boring conversation about our children being on the honor roll. We know you don’t care”. But the focus group’s thought, although honest, it wasn’t as catchy.

The PR team was just about to give up, when a gentlemen from a neighboring office suggested they go with, “State Farm. We’re there if you need us”. It took him a long time to get the team’s attention though, since he was from a neighboring office and all.

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