Cannes Lions

Get Inside James Harden's Head

TRANSLATION, New York / STATE FARM / 2019

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Overview

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Credits

Overview

Background

State Farm is known for its 19,000 insurance agents and the invaluable help that they provide. With an agent relationship, you get someone who gets to know you so well, they can anticipate your needs before you do. With their foresight, expertise, and know-how, it almost feels like they are inside your head.

During the NBA season, State Farm’s campaign brought this concept to life for basketball fans using insights from basketball culture to demonstrate the value of State Farm agents through an integrated campaign spanning film, social, digital, broadcast & digital media integrations, athlete and influencer support, and custom placements within the NBA media landscape.

Through the official sponsorship of the NBA, along with partnerships with the Houston Rockets and MVP James Harden, the Get Inside James Harden’s Head installation, we truly brought the strategy and concept into the real world for fans to experience it firsthand.

Idea

During the NBA Playoffs, we took the strategy quite literally and applied it to this important period during the season. Working with NBA MVP James Harden of the Houston Rockets, who had been featured in the State Farm campaign for two years, we created a larger-than-life, 3D replica of Harden’s Head to show the public what it’s like to get a State Farm agent that really gets them -- as if they’re inside your head.

And to really drive the point home, James’ agent, Cole Perez, played by Oscar Nunez in the campaign, ushered fans through the experience and delivered messaging connecting to the brand. All while guiding fans through a highly engaging experience.

Strategy

Every season, millions of basketball fans tune into the NBA Playoffs, one of the most exciting times in the season. Many fans only start to tune in at this time, exponentially growing the viewership of the regular season.

Targeting Houston Rockets fans, Harden’s Head appeared at the entrance of the Toyota Center during Playoffs and Western-Conference Finals. The brand intercepted thousands of fans as they attended the games and Houstonians interested in getting close to their hometown hero.

Fans entered Harden’s Head through a door that transported them on a journey through Harden’s mind in which a motion-detector triggered a gaming experience with an infinity-mirrored photo booth. Film of Cole, his State Farm agent from the campaign, guided fans and offered humor and insight into the dynamism that is Harden’s subconscious. He also demonstrated firsthand the help that comes from being inside someone’s head.

Execution

At 20 feet tall, the installation was visually striking and extremely recognizable, thanks in part to James’ signature beard. Fans could go inside to play an interactive game in the style of Fruit Ninja. By interacting with the screen, fans helped State Farm agent Cole Perez swipe away distractions in James' head, easing his mind ahead of a big game. The distractions spanned illustrations, audio, typeface elements, and more, all designed based on input from James Harden himself to represent real distractions that might be on his mind. In addition to the Head structure and interactive game, custom video content featuring State Farm agent character Cole Perez guided fans through the experience and helped reinforce State Farm branding and our takeaway message regarding the value of having a State Farm agent. The interior technology produced printed photo strips and shareable animated gifs documenting fans playing the game inside the Head.

Outcome

Activating at two Playoffs games outside of the Toyota Center, the brand intercepted fans who came out in droves: over 7,200 impressions on-site over the course of two games, with an average engagement time of over 7.5 minutes.

The events were showcased to national audiences during the key Houston Rockets NBA game broadcasts via integrations and featured across Turner network broadcasts.

Local and national news also featured the installation sharing the experience with a wider audience. Socially, the installation was distributed with posts from State Farm, James Harden, the Houston Rockets, and other partners and influencers. Totaled, over 50 million fans took in the experience.

Those who interacted with the installation or the coverage of events walked away with an understanding of the value of a State Farm agent. Someone who gets to know you so well they can anticipate your needs, almost like they are inside your head.

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