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Indiana Farm Bureau unveiling ads during Super Bowl

February 4, 2011
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It seems more and more insurance companies are taking to the television airwaves to promote their products in ad campaigns.

Who hasn’t seen the “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there” or “We are Farmers” spots?

Add another campaign to the mix—this one developed by an Indianapolis agency and debuting during Sunday’s Super Bowl matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers. Super Bowl advertising is among the most-anticipated elements of the televised game.

Four different ads for Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance will be shown regionally during the matchup. The spots for the Indianapolis-based insurer are built around the slogan “stop knocking on wood.”

“Our campaign is tapping into what we found in our research—that most consumers aren’t all that up to speed on what type of coverage they have,” said Young & Laramore President Tom Denari. “When we asked them specifically, if they had a fire or accident, what would be covered, they clearly had no idea. They’re knocking on wood. They’re hoping it doesn’t happen.”

Indiana Farm Bureau signed a deal in August to make Young & Laramore its advertising agent of record. Farm Bureau officials said then that they discussed the job with several ad agencies, but chose Y&L because of the firm’s track record in Indiana and beyond.

Earlier last year, the firm recaptured the account for Columbus, Ohio-based Stanley Steemer, the nation’s largest flooring and upholstery cleaning company based on sales. And last month, it scored a national contract with Ohio-based Scotts LawnService.

The Farm Bureau ads feature real-life scenarios, such as what’s covered if an automobile is stolen or a wedding ring is lost.

The campaign is the property and casualty insurer’s most aggressive yet, said Tom Faulconer, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for the insurer, part of the national Farm Bureau network. The company employs 1,200 people in Indiana and wrote $486 million in premiums in 2009.

“We’re up against a crowded field with Geico and Progressive, and they’re spending millions and millions of dollars that we don’t have to spend,” he said. “We’re trying to differentiate ourselves.”

Thirty-second spots airing nationally on Fox during the game sold for about $3 million each. Indiana Farm Bureau’s ads will cost the company six figures, Young & Laramore's Denari said.

The spots unveiled during the Super Bowl will run throughout the year. Additional ads will be developed in the fall for next year, Denari said.

“We have always done more of a name-recognition, feel-good type of campaign,” Faulconer said. “This one’s a little more direct. It’s more than just branding.”

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