University of Farmers Campaign Rolls Out Six New TV Spots Starring J.K. Simmons and Directed by Fred Savage

Santa Monica, Calif., Jan. 9, 2012 — Continuing the successful University of Farmers® campaign developed by advertising agency RPA, Farmers Insurance has produced six new TV spots featuring actor J.K. Simmons as the illustrious Professor Nathaniel Burke. Directed by über content's Fred Savage ("Modern Family," "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," "Party Down"), each spot continues to promote Farmers by playfully highlighting the expert training their agents receive at the actual University of Farmers in Agoura Hills, CA.

"The real University of Farmers provides award winning training which gives Farmers agents and customers an advantage," said John Ingersoll, vice president, advertising of Farmers Group, Inc. "This campaign continues to express that superior training in a fun and interesting way."

Two spots, "Jack In the Box" and "Maze," introduce this new series of work. "Because we have amassed a collection of spots, the campaign has almost become episodic in nature. And Fred Savage, as an amazing sitcom director, was the perfect choice to continue its development," said RPA CD Tom Hamling. "His on-set energy and ability to get the best out of our cast made the whole process really great."

"Jack In The Box" began airing Jan. 2 during the Rose Bowl and sets the tone for the new round of work. The spot features an astute class of future Farmers agents looking on as Professor Burke spins the handle of a giant jack in the box that represents the unexpected surprises that homeowners sometimes face. As the device's top springs open-empty-the class emits a sigh of relief that is soon obliterated by a rogue space capsule that crashes through the ceiling. "Random space junk falling from the sky? We cover that," Burke says.

As has been the norm from the campaign's launch, RPA and its production partners, when possible, opted for an all in-camera execution like the 10-foot-tall tin box and the 2,000-pound falling space capsule rather than relying on CGI. "When you actually use these items, you get results that are impossible to replicate or predict with special effects," said Hamling. "The way the box crumbles, the way the dust settles, the noises that happen upon collision-all of that is very real and comes through in the work."

"Maze," slated to break in February, takes a birds-eye view of a hapless man wandering around a dense and twisting maze. Professor Burke and future Farmers agents watch from above and calmly provide information to help him through the obstacle-just like a Farmers agent walks their customers through the process of choosing the insurance that best fits their needs. As with "Jack In The Box," RPA constructed the entire maze and had the actors/agents actually direct the confused client out of it.

Four additional TV spots will roll out through June:

  • "Hailstone" - Professor Nathaniel Burke and America's smartest insurance agents discuss the importance of comprehensive coverage.
  • "Roof" - Professor Nathaniel Burke teaches America's smartest insurance agents about the Farmers new roof discount.
  • "Zen" - Professor Nathaniel Burke teaches America's smartest insurance agents how to help their customers relax.
  • "Fire Suit" - Professor Nathaniel Burke and America's smartest insurance agents discuss the importance of custom-tailored insurance coverage. This spot will support Farmers Insurance's sponsorship of 11-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winner Kasey Kahne and Hendrick Motorsports and will first air during the Daytona 500 in February.

Creative Credits
Farmers Insurance - University of Farmers

"Jack In the Box" first air: 1/2/2012

Agency: RPA
ECD: Joe Baratelli
GCD: Pat Mendelson
CDs: Tom Hamling, Laura Hauseman
ACD/CW: Damian Fratecelli
Senior AD: Katie Carlile
EVP, Executive Producer, Content: Gary Paticoff
Senior Producer: Selena Pizarro
Assistant Producer: Whitney Young

Production Co: über content
Director: Fred Savage
DP: Chris Soos
Executive Producer: Preston Lee
Line Producer: Cory Berg
Production Designer: Andy Reznik

Editorial Company: Spot Welders
Editor: Haines Hall
Assistant Editor: Paul Sabater
Post Producer: Patrick McElroy

Telecine: Company 3, Santa Monica, CA
Artist: Stefan Sonnenfeld
EP: Rhubie Jovanov

Visual Effects Company: Public VFX
Lead Flame Artist: James Allen
VFX Producer: Marlo Kinsey/Kim Nagel
VFX CD: Tony Smoller

Title Design: Laundry! TV

Audio Post Company: Lime Studios
Audio Post Mixer: Loren Sibler
Music Company: Elias Arts, LA
Composer/Arranger: Jonathan Elias
Executive Producer: Ann Haugen
Creative Director: Dave Gold

Music: Ramblin Man

"Maze" first air: February 2012

Agency: RPA
ECD: Joe Baratelli
GCD: Pat Mendelson
CD: Tom Hamling
CD: Laura Hauseman
AD: Ariel Shukert
CW: David Sullivan
EVP: Gary Paticoff
Senior Producer: Selena Pizarro
Assistant Producer: Whitney Young

Production Co: über content
Director: Fred Savage
DP: Chris Soos
Executive Producer: Preston Lee, Phyllis Koenig, Steve Wi
Line Producer: Cory Berg
Production Designer: Andy Reznik

Editorial Company: Spot Welders
Editor: Haines Hall
Assistant Editor: Paul Sabater
Post Producer: Patrick McElroy

Telecine: Company 3, Santa Monica, CA
Artist: Stefan Sonnenfeld
EP: Rhubie Jovanov

Visual Effects Company: Public VFX
Lead Flame Artist: James Allen
VFX Producer: Marlo Kinsey/Kim Nagel
VFX CD: Tony Smoller

Title Design: Laundry! TV

Audio Post Company: Lime Studios
Audio Post Mixer: Loren Sibler

Music Company: Elias Arts, LA
Composer/Arranger: Jonathan Elias
Executive Producer: Ann Haugen
Creative Director: Dave Gold

About RPA
RPA, headquartered in Santa Monica, Calif., is a leading independent advertising agency. RPA builds momentum for brands by offering its clients truly integrated campaigns that resonate throughout its disciplines, which include traditional advertising, interactive, and direct and event marketing. RPA's client list includes American Honda, both the Honda and Acura brands, California Department of Public Health, La-Z-Boy, Farmers Insurance Group and Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. For more information, visit http://www.rpa.com.