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In a content-hungry, budget-starved world, it’s important that creative work be versatile. When Farmers Insurance asked us to produce something special for the Academy Awards, we gave them every client’s dream: a big idea with high relevance that cost very little. The Burkies, an update to our “We Know From Experience” campaign, is tailor-made for Oscar season. And we created it without shooting a single frame of new footage.
The original campaign dramatizes Farmers' craziest insurance claims, from a flooded house to a goat-rammed SUV. Our team had a brainstorm: They could breathe new life into these stories by reimagining them as Hollywood genre movies. Inspired by the trailer-editing challenges that are popular online, we recut the existing commercials to turn them into authentic-looking movie previews.
“We selected five genres that are familiar to audiences,” says RPA creative director Perrin Anderson, “like bachelor-party movies, inspirational sports stories and foreign films.” For example, the team reimagined the SUV ad as a Spaghetti Western about a goat that duels with its own reflection.
The trailers became the basis for a fictional awards campaign, the Burkies, named after Farmers pitchman, Professor Burke (J.K. Simmons). Like the Oscars, the Burkies pits films against each other for the top award. Viewers who see our faux trailers will be able to go online and share their favorites.
“It’s a fun parody of a huge pop-culture event,” says account management supervisor Adrienne Feldman. “We thought a lot about where people would be going for Oscar information and worked to put our content there.” During awards season, the Burkies trailers were seen everywhere from CNN Entertainment to actual movie-theater screens.
The project was a strategic home run for our client. Despite its low cost, it extended the campaign well beyond its original scope. It also helped Farmers capitalize on Oscar buzz in a timely, efficient way, which didn’t go unnoticed at the company.
“Usually, the agency has to go back to the client and ask for more buys,” says digital producer Alex Clewell. “But in this case, they came to us and asked where else we could put this thing.” Farmers recognized the fun and relevance of the project and wanted to push it further. We expanded the Burkies to include posters, cinemagraphs and other content that mimics movie marketing.
The team’s hard work represents one of our core beliefs at RPA: that groundbreaking work can exist at any price point. “You can do it—and make it relevant,” says art director Erin Costello. “We created something new and fresh for almost no money.”
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