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State Farm in NBA 2K22

THE MARKETING ARM, Dallas / STATE FARM / 2022

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Case Film

Overview

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Credits

Overview

Background

State Farm needed to increase its cultural resonance with Millennials and Gen Zers who see State Farm as just their parents’ insurance and needed to win over generations that demand increasing authenticity from their brands. We knew we needed to find the right way to join their most passionate communities – enter NBA 2K, a franchise where the love of basketball and gaming collide. State Farm began its relationship with NBA 2K starting with NBA 2K12, putting our logo on virtual courts and branding the “Assist of the Game” clips. But as players became more cynical and uninterested in static brand integrations, especially as more companies joined NBA 2K’s sponsor list, we had to up our game. So, instead of just placing a State Farm logo in NBA 2K22, we brought Jake from State Farm off the bench to stop advertising to players and start engaging them.

Idea

We started with something that’s never been done before. We put Jake in the game. Working with NBA 2K developers, we gave Jake a new home in the game’s virtual metropolis, The City, making him the franchise’s first branded NPC. Complete with a range of animations and dialogue lines, he gives players challenges and helps them progress their MyPlayer careers. But Jake didn’t show up alone. He brought NGHBR GOODS to The City with him, a branded streetwear storefront where players can suit up like a good neighbor with a full line of State Farm outfits. Our “Jakeover” of NBA 2K culminated in a Battle of the Khakis livestream event on Twitch shortly after the game’s launch, where Jake took it to the court with some of NBA 2K’s top streamers to duke it out, 3-on-3 for the Golden Khakis trophy.

Strategy

Our goal was to increase cultural resonance with Millennial and Gen Z gamers by creating a value exchange that would drive active engagement and enhance the gamer experience. Jake’s NPC brought state-of-the-art interactivity by guiding players’ stories and hooking them up with his famous fit – plus custom streetwear accessories – to spread good-neighbor vibes throughout NBA 2K22. Additionally, our Battle of the Khakis livestream united the NBA 2K community in friendly competition centered around Jake and NGHBR GOODS. Ultimately, we created an experience that was anchored in our brand purpose: building our brand, and generating future demand with the Millennial/Gen-Z audience in spaces they're already playing, and leveraging our distinct assets – Jake from State Farm and khakis – with a breakthrough creative execution.

Execution

IMPLEMENTATION: We created an in-game storefront and a non-playable character to live in NBA 2K22 indefinitely, developed ten (10) social and digital content pieces that were released around game launch and activated five (5) influencers for a two-hour livestream.

TIMELINE: In-game integration development took six months, beginning in April, and concluding NBA 2K22 launch in September 2021. The promotion campaign was executed across three months, culminating with the Battle of the Khakis Twitch livestream on October 2, 2021.

PLACEMENT

•Social

-Instagram

-Twitter

-Twitch NBA 2K Influencers

•Digital

-NBA 2K22

-Twitch

-Reddit Gaming

-Facebook Gaming

-YouTube Gaming

SCALE

•In-game integration:

-Development of the NGHBR GOODS storefront and State Farm brand apparel

-Creation of the Jake NPC

•NBA 2K22 brand inclusions

-State Farm Assist of the Game Replay

-Stanchion branding

-Arena signage

Outcome

Business impact – sales, donations, site traffic

•The Jake from State Farm integration into NBA 2K22 led to increased awareness of the State Farm brand among Millennial and Gen Z audiences, with 12 million earned media impressions (95% positive or neutral sentiment).

Response rate

•The State Farm NGHBR GOODS store had 752K entries, ranking State Farm as #5 in entries out of ten (10) total brand partners with storefronts in NBA 2K22, all of which include shoe brands.

Change in behavior

•Across social media, the Jake from State Farm integration gained 3.1K earned social mentions, with 32 million total reach. The Jake from State Farm social launch content gained 71.1K impressions, +286% above benchmarks.

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