Aaron Rodgers is having a red zone slump lately. Sunday’s game against the Bengals wasn’t up to his prior weeks’ 71.4 percent red-zone passes completed with six touchdowns and no interceptions. Meanwhile, some Chicago Bears fans are piling on the Packers quarterback by complaining about his latest State Farm commercial, “State of Turbulence,” featuring the Chicago Bears Superfans from “Saturday Night Live.”
Chicago sports journalist Paul M. Banks, who has more than 1,000 Twitter followers, has started a “grassroots movement” to remove the ad. Claiming State Farm has overplayed the campaign, Banks complains Bears fans wouldn’t make bratwursts for a Packers quarterback, the Superfans aren’t funny, and the skit is offensive because nobody from Chicago talks like that (evidently disagreeing with linguists’ analysis of Chicago accents). Banks asserts both Green Bay and Chicago fans will get behind his petition.
Is this a general sentiment State Farm should heed? Or is this a minority gripe from Banks, who writes on ChicagoNow he dislikes anything popular? Taking a different view, Adweek picked the Rodgers Superfans ad as an “Ad of the Day.” Who’s right? It’s hard to be objective about anything involving Packers-Bears rivalries, but looking at some numbers can provide some perspective.
Has State Farm Overplayed the Ad? The Tale of the Tape
As in football, success in social media is measured in stats. On the official State Farm YouTube channel, “State of Turbulence” had received 496,846 views, 710 likes, and 31 dislikes as of September 25, 2013. These are not numbers indicative of an overplayed ad. A follow-up “Double Down Challenge” ad featuring the Superfans minus Rodgers had received 30,370 views, 98 likes, two dislikes, and four positive comments. A subsequent Double Down Challenge ad had garnered 27,351 views with 79 likes and no dislikes, while a third had netted 7,088 views with 30 likes and no dislikes. Related activity on State Farm’s Facebook page and Twitter #Doublecheck hashtag campaign has been more moderate but positive.
Do Packers Fans Support the Petition?
The Green Bay Packers have more than 3.5 million Facebook Like’s and more than half a million Twitter followers. Activity related to the ad on sites associated with the Green Bay Press Gazette, Milwaukee Journal, and Milwaukee’s Packer radio affiliate has been minimal but generally positive. There is no notable Packers opposition to the ad.
What Does Ditka Say?
The Chicago Bears have nearly 2.8 million Like’s on Facebook and more than 362,000 followers on Twitter. Are they offended by the Superfans, as Banks asserts? Former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka appeared with the Superfans in an Old Navy commercial, so he appears okay with it. While some Bears fans felt stereotyped by Old Navy’s ad, comments about State Farm’s Superfans ads on DaBears.com express amusement. It appears some Bears fans are as comfortable with the Superfans as Packers fans are with wearing cheese on their heads, which is to conclude the target market for comedic commercials is audiences with a sense of humor.
Creative Commons image by Mike Morbeck