The success of viral videos doesn’t happen often. For brands, especially in industries like insurance, consumers view their content as an uninspiring necessity – not a source of entertainment or inspiration.
But when content fortune strikes, significant audience opportunities follow – if you have the agility and an effective strategy to take advantage of them.
State Farm has done all of this in its integrated Jazz Bath: The Bath Bomb Sessions campaign. With the help of its creative agency, The Marketing Arm (TMA), the brand transformed the viral asset into a fully integrated content platform that drove continued audience engagement and brand affinity .
The viral success of @StateFarm’s Jake explaining “personal” to NFL QB @PatrickMahomes has pushed State Farm and @wearetma_agency to expand their #content reach, says @Joderama via @CMIContent. Click to tweet
It’s a lesson in good practice for that. Content Marketing Awards 2023 Finalist for project of the year.
1. Capitalize on resonant connections
Celebrity stunt casting is a popular advertising approach, especially during the National Football League season. To stand out, viewers must view the celebrity’s appearance as relevant to their interests and associate it with the brand’s exciting offerings.
State Farm achieved this by reinforcing the audience’s proven trust in its khaki- and red-shirt-clad spokesperson character – State Farm’s Jake – for a commercial running throughout the 2022 season. The Bath Bomb commercial aired a humorous conversation between Jake and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
The spot promotes the insurer’s personal pricing plan. Patrick gets a little too personal by revealing that he’s “a bath bomb guy.” While Jake dispels the misconception about the “personal” product, the robed quarterback continues his relaxation ritual and soaks in a tub filled with scented bath oils in the middle of the training room, no less. Then the crew member (played by actor/comedian Mark Sipka) arrives with his saxophone to add musical ambiance.
2. Listen for creative opportunities
Confidence is not associated with fun, relaxation, or celebrity spa habits. However, the offbeat spot sparked a frenzy of positive feedback on social media. Many (like @TayloreHemnes in the example below) used the campaign’s #JazzBath hashtag on Twitter, InstagramAnd Facebook to express their interest in creating their own jazz bath experience.
3. Intervene before the feeling has time to subside
State Farm recognized the clear opportunity to extend the brand’s moment of cultural resonance. But capitalizing on this momentum would require rapid action, fluid coordination and a touch of inspiration.
Without wasting any time, TMA took the bath bomb and turned it into a jazzy multimedia campaign. The lynchpin? They worked with professional jazz musicians to record six original pieces. The resulting CD – Jazz Bath: The Bath Bomb Sessions – allowed Jazz Bath fans to experience a personal relaxation journey.
To streamline free CD orders (while they last), TMA has created a microsite: MyJazzBath.com. (Now that the campaign is over, the URL redirects traffic to the main State Farm page.) Banner ads and online videos promoted the drive and expanded the campaign’s reach.
4. Also invite influencers to get started
Even successful campaigns can have a short lifespan in a noisy content environment. Once the audience’s enthusiasm fades, they can quickly lose interest and move on. Promoting your viral content is the best way to ensure your brand stays on their minds, holds their interest, and inspires them to take action.
State Farm didn’t drop the ball on this crucial step. To help get its tracks into fans’ bath time playlists, the agency employed a trusted content marketing strategy: partnering with influencers.
Media partners were also called. Spotify shared a branded playlist containing all six tracks from the CD, including Who’s Ready? (For a jazz bath) and I’m not crying (There’s soap in my eyes).
5. Boost the fun with related content
A single piece of viral content rarely equals long-term marketing results. But by extending the experience audiences receive, you can reinforce the value they receive and increase the likelihood they will take direct action with your business.
For Jazz Bath, the agency retained the relaxing atmosphere of the initial spot with other campaign videos. For example, in the space below, Jeff, the equipment manager who brought the saxophone to the original commercial, presents his first CD by parodying an infomercial from the 1990s:
The agency followed up with the Jazz Bath Hotline interactive content feature. Fans who called (866) JAZZ-BATH received a message from Jeff with his tips for relaxing.
Cool Jazz, Hot Results
In one week, all 11,000 copies of The Bath Bomb Sessions CD were sold out. Best of all, according to TMA, the campaign connected with State Farm’s hard-to-reach millennial target audience. Getting them excited about a “boring” topic like insurance has led to impressive marketing results.
According to TMA, these results included:
- 125.6 million impressions
- Over 13.3 million video views
- Over 8.5 million impressions earned
- 201,100 interventions
- Over 6,000 streams on Spotify
- More than 30,000 visits to JazzBath.com
- Nearly 1,000 calls to the Jazz Bath hotline
In addition to capturing the cultural zeitgeist, the campaign earned TMA recognition from its industry peers: it won the Content Marketing Award for Most Innovative Content Distribution Strategy. He also won the first prize at the 15th Shorty Price in the humor, comedy video category and received an honorable mention in the humor, financial services category.
Log in, turn up the volume and soak in the success
With a smart strategy, you can turn a surprise hit into a well-orchestrated cross-platform campaign. Not only will this increase the marketing value of your most popular content assets, but it can also get you the attention of your audience.
Will State Farm’s Jazz Bath add a content marketing award for Project of the Year to its impressive accomplishments? Register to attend World of Content Marketingwhere the winner will be announced on September 28.
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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute