Another Example of Legacy

27 Jun

While I adored David Ryan Harris’ tribute, this one I’m a little skeptical on.

  I’ll Be There, State Farm Commercial

Watching TV last night, this commercial came on and I immediately thought about the inappropriateness of State Farm resurrecting this ad.  The description of the video says:

Since this ad first aired May 20, the songs lyrics have helped make a strong emotional connection with people. This Jackson Five song is just one example of Michael Jacksons impact and legacy as a pop culture icon. Our condolences to the Michael Jackson family and fans.


That’s convenient, but I don’t recall seeing this ad more that once or twice in the last month or so, so I don’t think it was as compelling as State Farm likes to make out.  Nothing had made them look good in recent months where they have increased the hurricane deductibles to 5% of total coverage and have flat out stopped coverage for some areas.

But I digress…

I could be totally off base, but I think that this is using the hype of this superstar’s death to hawk your product.  The commercial did not have a “tribute” to MJ attached or a condolence, it simply was a commercial using a highly identifiable Michael Jackson/Jackson 5 song to get the viewers attention.  All about taking advantage of the moment, ignoring the respect and dignity of the person.  Unfortunately, it’s the dark side of legacy.


Posted by on June 27, 2009 in Marketing, rant, TV, Uncategorized


10 responses to “Another Example of Legacy

  1. catherine

    June 27, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    I’ve been seeing this commercial a lot the last month or two, so I really don’t think they have resurrected it at all. I had been reading about it on the internet since it first started airing. People seemed to think it was a good commercial.

  2. music maven

    June 28, 2009 at 10:33 am

    Perhaps others see it as a tribute and perhaps my jaded exposure to the marketing world taints my eye view, there’s no “tribute” in associating a dead icon’s song (less than 24 hours after he dies) that shows other people’s terrific suffering and trying to say that State Farm is “there”.

    For me, the only possible acceptance of this would have been for State Farm to add a disclaimer at the beginning explaining how prolific Michael Jackson’s music was inspiring and healing and that’s why they chose it for their ad. Instead, they rushed to buy space for the existing ad with no explanation…that speaks volumes.

  3. shrewspeaks

    June 28, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    Yeah…MM that would make a big difference.

  4. Amy deClouet

    June 30, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    But, isn’t that how MJ lived his entire life…people using him as their cash cow? Why would it be any different in death? No one, not even his own family, valued who he was as a person outside of the “artist.” It’s tragic that this man was the product of so much abuse and mistrust.

  5. music maven

    June 30, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    Amy — No truer words have been spoken.


  6. Chris Vellanti

    July 7, 2009 at 8:39 am

    Just a little background, for your information. The commercial had it’s debut for the first time on the American Idol final show. It was a brand new commercial and therefore, did not have time to be aired that much. There would be no way State Farm could have known this would happen and certainly had no intention of exploiting the situation. Chris

  7. music maven

    July 7, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    Thanks, Chris, for commenting, but my issue was not that State Farm made a commercial with “I’ll Be There” and that they had aforehand knowledge (clairavoyance) that MJ would pass. My issue is that State Farm realized that they had a new “golden” commercial that they could make hay with. Also, their description on the YouTube video makes it sound like the commercial had been a tremendous success and craved by fans BEFORE MJ’s death. Hence, my comment about not being particularly moved by the commercial previously (I actually saw it during the AI finale) and that had MJ not passed, SF would not have been so compelled by the ad.

    If they, in fact, wanted to pay tribute to Mr. Jackson, they should have edited the commercial to include a simply statement as I outilined in my comment above. However, running this commercial just a day or so after his death without such a statement, smacks of opportunism and yes, exploitation of their “lucky” choice of music for a commercial they just produced.

    It is my opinion that they blew it and they looked inconsiderate at the least.

  8. Chris Vellanti

    July 10, 2009 at 8:11 am

    They only used the song because their new emphasis and ad campaign was ‘being there for you’…..hence the commercial. They had no intention of paying tribute to Michael Jackson in use of the song. The commercial was made and aired prior to his death and many people were moved by it and liked it….prior to his death. Guess it’s all a matter of likes and dislikes but I don’t think anyone should be reading anything else into it. The ad was created prior to his death and surely would have been a waste of money not to aire it according to their planned schedule after his death… Yes, it was a ‘lucky’ choice of music, but why would that be a reason to not use the ad as scheduled. Fate…and luck…..a big part of life..should we say ‘oh, that was luck’ guess we should ignore it and not follow its lead..because it’s a lucky break…MJ’s music will live on and be a part of us for our pleasure and use forever!! Chris

  9. music maven

    July 10, 2009 at 10:50 am

    I get that they created the commercial and that it really had NOTHING to do with Michael Jackson or his death. I don’t think it was all that “moving” or overly noticed before his death, either.

    The matter of continuing to air it (whether planned prior to or escalated by, the death of MJ) is in decorum or “class”. Just as movies, commercials, and all other visuals of the WTC were yanked after 911, it’s a matter of respect for the dead — particularly since this was the night after his death. If State Farm had the savvy to write a new description on the YouTube video within a day after the death, they certainly could have either yanked the commercial off the schedule for a few weeks OR simply created a “tribute/condolence” intro for the commercial and then ran it. It’s done quite easily, quickly, and affordably.

    I agree about the music is there to use forever and it should be. His kids deserve whatever money derived from the royalties. Just not putting it out there within 24 hours of the man’s death, with no acknowledgement of the death. Americans have become so de-sensitized that there is no realization any more concerning appropriateness and proper decorum. Everything and anything is “ok” and everyone gets a pass…no responsibility. In my opinion, it is the country’s undoing.

    Again, thanks for the comments. I enjoy exploring other points of view, even when they’re wrong. 😉 (I AM kidding).

  10. Chris

    July 10, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    Seems to me you are comparing apples to oranges. WTC attack was completely different. MJ’s music is all over the place and a tribute to his talent. I’m sure there was no disrespect targeted toward him with the commercial. And every insurance company in Florida (including Citizens) has a minimum 2% hurricane deductible with a 5% option. It will be interesting when ‘the wind blows’ again how happy everyone will be with the underfunded companies that are left in Florida due to the fact that competitive enterprise has been pushed out of our State with the insurance market. There are no major companies left here because all the other big ones left a long time ago. Personally I would prefer to keep my State Farm policy and know that I will be able to rebuild again and have money right away to do it. I went through Andrew and watched many people get nothing after their companies went bankrupt… including my Nanny who eventually had a heart attack and died because her home was destroyed and her insurance company went under. She never got a penny from them.. and FEMA was no help to her either. We had a $5000 check from State Farm the day after the storm to find a place to live and so did all of my friends who lost their homes. Florida has a big complex problem and personally I hope all the big companies come back and compete for our business again…like it should be. Chris


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