State Farm tries to ignite social buzz with ‘hijacked’ TV spot

Hashtags are a familiar feature of TV commercials these days. They’re easy to tack on to any campaign, and they can add a splash of social to humdrum TV spots.

State Farm is channeling Orson Welles’ “War of the Worlds” in an attempt to ignite social buzz with its DDB Chicago-created TV campaign, running since last week. The new spot is a twist on its long-running “Jake from State Farm,” starring the jealous wife castigating her husband for talking to State Farm rep Jake late at night, mistaking Jake for another woman.

But about 12 seconds into the spot, the screen flickers, fills with static, and a hashtag appears at the bottom of the screen: “Don’t change the channel. There’s nothing wrong with your TV,” followed by “May 11 – #TuneInEarthlings.”

State Farm clearly hopes that the teaser will result in some serious social buzz in the lead up to, well, something. The @JakeStateFarm handle, which has a respectable 337,000 followers, has been responding to distressed Twitter users since the spot aired, reassuring them and also telling them to be sure to tune in to the #AskJakeAnything tweet chat on May 11, where all will be revealed. State Farm comms folks are getting in on the action too with pre-crafted Tweets:

So far, the campaign doesn’t appear to be making much of an impact, however. According to Topsy, #TuneInEarthlings has only generated 857 tweets in total. The good news: State Farm has another week to build momentum. Stay tuned, earthlings.

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