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State Farm Brings 'Chaos' to Mobile

  |  October 21, 2013   |  Comments

The rampaging robot of State Farm's popular 'Chaos in Your Town' campaign is back but this time it’s on mobile.

State Farm is reviving its popular 'Chaos In Your Town' campaign - a customizable video that lets users watch a robot rampage through their town and attack their house - but this time on mobile.

Developed for the insurer by its agency, DDB, 'Chaos' started as a TV campaign  and then evolved into a video that customizes itself to each viewer, using a clever mix of 3D technology and geo-positioning information and photos from Google Street View. After the robot wreaks its destruction, the user has the option to watch the clip again, share it on social media or get a quote from a State Farm insurance agent. 

First launched on a microsite in 2011, the video's popularity has yet to wane, although the insurer stopped promoting it more than a year ago, according to Tim Van Hoof, assistant vice president of marketing at State Farm. It receives roughly 100,000 views a month and has had more than 7.5 million views since it was created. It was also shared more than 400,000 times, according to State Farm's own data. 

But the insurer and its agency saw new possibilities in bringing the ad to mobile. "With the amazing numbers on the original, we put some thought into how we could make this work harder for us," says Joe Cianciatto, executive creative director at DDB.

"Your mobile device is really your personal connection to other people, and we wanted to see how we could bring the campaign to life in a mobile environment," adds Van Hoof.

Mobile technology makes it possible for an even smoother experience, he said, because whereas on the website the user had to input their zip code to activate the location specific information, a mobile can use GPS information to automatically locate the user.

However, creating the ad for mobile also presented specific challenges, as it  could not be too bandwidth heavy. "People close anything larger than half a meg (MB). There's nothing worse than a bad sequel," says Cianciatto. 

Creating a mobile version of the ad also presented an opportunity to reach a more targeted audience than the original clip, according to Van Hoof. It is only being shown via mobile ad banners such as iAds, which are shown to iPhone users as they listen to iTunes or use apps on their phones.

"This was an opportunity to reach younger, more mobile-engaged and tech savvy users and get the message out. They might think that State Farm is something for their grandparents. We are trying to dig deeper among those most likely to reconsider getting a quote from us," says Van Hoof.

He  says that 'thousands' of quotes were generated and prospects were created as a result of the original campaign, although he can't give more specific numbers. But going forward, Van Hoof says, efforts to reach users will be increasingly micro targeted using information based on web behavior and other predictive factors to drive those considered most likely to respond to get a quote. The company is also looking at leveraging the chaos campaign on other channels, including social media. 


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Mary Lisbeth  D'Amico

Mary Lisbeth D'Amico is a freelance writer based in Jersey City who frequently covers digital marketing, social media, tech startups, and venture capital. She has contributed to a wide range of publications including The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Red Herring, and Real Deals. Find her on Twitter at @mldamico.

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