Leap #1

Mentor Text: State Farm Commercial “Following”

  1. Who is the author and what is the purpose?

The author of this text is the insurance/banking company State Farm. They provide people with vehicle, life, and property insurance, as well as checking and savings accounts for personal finances. This commercial came out sometime in 2017. It shows a man going through life while noticing advertisements or people in situations of need. These people start to follow him, like a representation of them weighing on the back of his mind. The purpose of this commercial is to inspire the viewers to do more than just care about what is going on around them. It is to inspire individuals to go out and do something about the problems and suffering that they see in the world.

2. What techniques are used to attract and hold attention?

One way the commercial holds the viewer’s attention by omitting dialogue. The viewer needs to constantly be watching the commercial or they will miss the message. The music playing in the background is pleasant but evokes the feeling of sadness. The song is called “Don’t let me down” by Daya and the Chainsmokers. The lyrics portray a desperate need for another person. The commercial also attracts attention because it shows situations that most people go through every day. From seeing an advertisement on the street, on the news, or on social media, to seeing someone on the street who needs help. As he sees the problems in the world, the man gains another mental follower and they all continuously follow him, representing the back of our minds as we notice things throughout the day. The viewer will want to know what happens to the followers revealed at the end of the commercial, which would also hold their attention.

3. What lifestyles, values and points of view are represented?

The man in the commercial is white, holds an office job, lives in a city, hangs out with friends at a restaurant, and lives in an apartment. This would resonate with an upper/middle-class lifestyle, especially for those who have a similar routine as the man in the commercial. Social media plays a role in the commercial, and most people today see some kind of message of support for a group of people. The messages of need in the video are geared towards animals, veterans, the homeless population, the environment, and K-12 students. This list is shown as needing assistance or intervention by American people. People who value helping those needs thrive would support this commercial.

4. How might different people interpret the message?

One interpretation of this message would be that people need to do more than just feel bad or care about a problem in the world. They need to go out and do something about it so that the problem can be solved. Another group of people may admire State Farm for putting out a public service message for change and decide to use them for insurance and banking needs because they are now viewed as a compassionate company. Some people may interpret this as an over-exaggeration because the problems presented in the video may not affect them, or are seen as non-important to them. The general comment on this commercial by friends and family was that it was a great message to inspire someone to do something about a problem that haunts their daily life.

5. What is omitted?

Something that could have been beneficial to add to this advertisement would have been multiple perspectives. It shows a middle-class working man feel the need to do something about the problems that he sees and that follow him each day. It does not show a perspective of a child, or a woman, or someone in a different socioeconomic status. A different perspective may have been beneficial in inspiring more individuals to go out and help their communities.