Wednesday, March 26, 2008

So here’s a commercial that’s been irking me. It’s on all the time, it’s for State Farm insurance, and there are several things problematic about it.

First, let’s try to understand what State Farm’s trying to tell us. Somehow, when you need to choose between two similar things, one a solid committed brand name, and one a similarly-named knock off, that is cheaper, but lower in quality, you should clearly take the slightly-more-expensive-but-far-more-valuable choice. In other words, you might say State Farm is the “Coach K” of insurance companies, while perhaps Geico is the “Coach J.”

Now the Coach K part makes sense, in that, we all know and recognize him as a top the coaching profession. So the commercials sets you up to think it’s going to show a cheaper coach, which for some reason, we would both recognize as inferior, and would have some kind of name related to Coach K. But who is this Coach J? First, of all, why is he named Coach J? We recognize he’s supposed to be a generic ridiculous coach, but why J? Merely because it rhymes with K, I suppose, but there’s nothing about him that suggests a J surname. And why does Coach J look eerily like Dwight Shrute? Also, does one even want to think about they had to pay Coach K for three seconds when he has absolutely no essential place in this commercial? Why are middle-aged adults even paying to be taught by Coach J?

There are just too many questions about this commercial for me to even digest…

There’s no worse commercial than one that makes you feel like you’re missing something, even though you’re not. It’s like a Dr. Seuss style approach to wordplay – if you don’t have a word to rhyme, make up one; if you don’t have a aptly named bad coach to make your wordplay work, make up one.

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