For my message evaluation I chose State Farm’s comical commercial advertising their mobile apps. State Farm is a company that sells auto, home, and life insurance. The commercial begins with a man analyzing a car accident with his new state farm app on his phone. A woman then approaches in disbelief as the man explains all the advantages of the state farm apps. The man proceeds to explain all the advantages of the State Farm mobile app such as diagraming an accident, getting a quote, or a paying a premium. As the woman’s disbelief stems from her knowledge gained from the internet, the commercial pokes fun at the false facts that one might find on the internet. The girl claims she has a date with a French model, whom she met on the internet. When the French model makes his appearance however, it is clear that he is neither a model nor is he French by his appearance and pronunciation of the French word, bon jour.

When applying Burke’s pentad to the commercial, the act of the commercial is showing the usefulness of State Farm’s mobile applications. The agents here in this commercial are the man analyzing the car wreck, and the woman to which he describes the application to. The commercial took on a comical approach, claiming that not everything you read on the internet is true, thus the agent is the comedy. The purpose of the commercial is to persuade the viewer to purchase State Farm insurance, because they have useful phone apps. The Scene in this commercial plays the least important role, as it is just a location outside where two people might meet, in front of a car accident, where they might discuss car insurance companies. The conclusion of the advertisement is left out, and it is left up to the viewers to decide for themselves why they should choose State Farm over other insurance companies.

It seems that the important ratio in this add is Act:Agency. If an insurance company would like to persuade someone to purchase their insurance, they have to know exactly what the customer wants and show it, which is done through the act of the commercial. They are showing the usefulness of their company’s mobile application in this particular commercial. The Agency then depends on the act. They could have used a more serious approach stating the facts and benefits of the mobile application or possibly used a serious moment to show the use of a mobile application in real life; however they went with a comical approach.

From my knowledge of persuasion, which is not much, I found that this commercial did not do much in the way of persuading. It is clearly targeted to only the group of viewers who often use smart phones. This immediately eliminates the older age group who may never have adapted to smart phones. It is also limiting itself to the group of viewers who find having applications on their phone useful. The commercial does not do much in the way of comparing their insurance policies to other insurance companies, which seems to usually be a trend with insurance companies. There is also something to be said about the use of humor to persuade the viewer. When I watch a commercial that’s funny, I do remember the commercial, and might even quote it from time to time. While it is true that funny commercials are memorable, I do not think I would ever find myself purchasing a product because the commercial was funny. I have more of a tendency to be persuaded by factual information about a product, compared with other products, or by a commercial that makes the product visually appealing. The humor used in the commercial also seems to have little to do with the actual insurance company themselves. The humor is a side note about not all information from the internet being factual. The information related by the man describing the application is very short and minimal. This makes it hard for me to find a use for the mobile application itself, as I care more about the reliability and cost of an insurance company over the kind of technology they have.

Overall this commercial does a good job of using humor to make for a memorable commercial; however it does not seem to do much in the way of persuading someone to purchase State Farm insurance. The commercial even leaves out the conclusion of the commercial, it’s last statement is that State Farm is “more mobile than ever”, leaving the viewer to decide whether or not “more mobile than ever” means a better insurance company that deserves their money. Had the commercial either given a conclusion or given more reasoning behind why mobile applications are a good thing, it may have been more persuasive.

Wesley King

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