Saturday, March 10, 2012

State Farm: Useful even if Hank defies your expectations, and lives

I've actually had this commercial stashed in my bookmarks list for quite some time now, trying to figure out just the right angle to use on it. Sometimes ads are just so mean-spirited, so willing to tickle that crass side of society which thinks that anything hurtful or cruel is "funny," they defy snark. But I want to get this one done before it leaves the airwaves (any time would be fine, really) so I will just settle for telling my audience exactly what I think of this thirty seconds of nastiness from State Farm.

We open with blurry, wobbly "home movies" and still photographs featuring "Hank" and his family, as his widow(?) waxes poetic about how much he cared about his family. How much did Hank care? Why, enough to make sure that she and the kids could stay in the house he provided for them in life, once he went to his reward (and by the time this ad is over, we can certainly appreciate the idea that dying was the best reward that Hank could have hoped for.)

The narrator tells us that if she could tell Hank anything, it would be "thank you." Aww, that's both sweet and sad at the same time. We all have people no longer in our lives that we wish we could thank. Once they are gone, they are gone, and we are left with the regret that inevitably comes from lost opportunities. We know exactly what this woman is saying. Show appreciation while the person who means so much to you is there to accept it. Message received.

Except, no. See, here's the hilarious punchline- Hank is STILL ALIVE! He's RIGHT THERE! He's walking through the living room, and he's overheard his wife's dreamy fantasy that he's dead, and he replies "you're welcome" (better do it now, Hank- God Knows this woman is never going to say it outright, to you. She's saving it for the eulogy.)

Suddenly Not-Widow mutters "Hey, Hank" with an undeniable, disgusted "oh damn I forgot, you are still taking up space here, thanks for interrupting my daily Hank is Dead daydream."

"Now do me a favor and just walk away, so I can go back to wishing I had had the opportunity to say thank you. Because I clearly have no intention of ever doing that. I am, however, looking forward to the day when I can finally regret not thanking you because it really is too late."

Of course, there are morons out there who think that this is funny- one YouTube dope thinks it should have been a Super Bowl ad. (Well, it's certainly tasteless, so it does qualify.) But remember that others think the E-trade babies and Bud Lite "NFL experience" ads are funny, too. There's no displeasing some people.


  1. Ah. So you finally got around to talking about Affirmative Action John and Elly Patterson. Too bad that we had to watch this thing.

  2. My father once said to me that he was worth more to me and my mom dead than alive. I was hurt he'd only see his worth in dollar signs. Am I glad he has life insurance to help my mom out should he die? Yes. Would I rather have him alive? YES. This commercial makes no sense to me because Mrs. is talking about Hank in the past tense but he's still very much alive, and I'm totally turned off by the way her attitude of gratitude vanishes as soon as he's present, replaced with an attitude of 'aren't he lucky I have a sense of humor about his idiocy?'.

  3. Well, exactly. She's "thankful," as long as Hank doesn't find out, because she's too mean-spirited to admit that Hank's been a good provider. As long as Hank is still alive, she'll never admit she's grateful for his sacrifice and planning. What a jerk.