An “Emotional” State of Mind: My Thoughts About the State Farm Commercial, “An Empire State of Mind”

It’s common for insurance companies to use an emotional appeal in their advertising — after all, the purchasing decision for insurance is highly emotional — but has State Farm gone too far with their new ad?

Last month, on the 10th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, I was watching 102 Minutes That Changed America on A&E when I first saw State Farm’s new commercial, “An Empire State of Mind.” It was touching, appealing and (especially after watching video footage of the September 11th attacks for the last hour) it invoked strong emotions that I’m not sure I could easily describe. It was a beautiful tribute and, at the time, I didn’t think much of it. However, as the days progressed I thought more about the video and I was torn. Was State Farm using the emotions of the September 11th attacks to build a positive perception for their company?

If you haven’t seen the video yet, I’ve embedded it at the bottom of this post.

This brought up all sort of questions in my mind about the ethics involved, as well as State Farm’s intentions. It has been days since, and I am still torn in my thoughts.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with using emotional appeals in advertising. I’m just pointing out it feels a bit weird when an advertiser rides the ’emotional wave’ of an event, where thousands of people died.

With that being said, at the end of the day, State Farm and Spike Lee put together a touching tribute. They didn’t place too much focus on themselves and they got the community involved.

Let’s just hope their intentions were pure.