Farmers Insurance Continues with Professor Burke As Centerpiece of Ad Campaign; 5 New Spots and 8 New Print Ads Debut

March 24, 2011


Santa Monica, Calif., March 24, 2011 - Farmers Insurance is launching five new TV spots and eight new print ads to build on the successful University of Farmers® campaign developed by RPA. This new chapter of the campaign, which originally launched in September, continues to creatively position and differentiate Farmers Insurance by highlighting its core strength: Farmers agents.

The campaign focuses on the in-depth training agents receive at the actual University of Farmers in Agoura Hills, Calif. Farmers was recently rated as the top training organization in the world by Training magazine over some well-known, blue-chip competition.

The character that stands at the heart of the campaign is esteemed Professor Nathaniel Burke. Tough but fair, loveable yet gruff, he is played by actor J.K. Simmons. Professor Nathaniel Burke teaches agents with larger-than-life dramatizations that take place at a magical representation of the University.

"We've found that consumers are remembering the University of Farmers campaign and it is bringing the brand to life for them," said John Ingersoll, vice president, advertising of Farmers Group, Inc. "Consumer response to the icon, Professor Nathaniel Burke, has been very strong. They like him from his other film and TV roles but also feel his character is a good fit for the brand."

Eight new print executions were created with the help of Nadav Kander, an accomplished photographer who has won several prestigious awards. "We wanted to extend the fantastical nature of the TV campaign into print. Teaching installations framed by a university classroom engage the viewer visually and teach them something new, demonstrating Farmers expertise," said Laura Hauseman, associate creative director and art director. These ads will begin running in April in Epicurean Time, ESPN, Golf Digest, Martha Stewart, People, Real Simple and Sports Illustrated.

The five new 30-second spots are directed by the acclaimed husband-and-wife team of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. Well-respected for their work on music videos and commercials, they also received an Academy Award® nomination for the film Little Miss Sunshine. Their unique vision brings to life America's finest agents experiencing larger- than-life insurance scenarios in Professor Burke's incredible classroom in five spots:

  • "Dryer Fire" - Professor Burke uses a flame-thrower and a giant lint ball to show agents the dangers of laundry-room fires.
  • "Floating Weather" - A frozen moment of a tornado hangs in a classroom, including a floating truck and a slew of other fun objects, teaches agents how severe weather can affect a home policy.
  • "Distracted Driving" - A distracted driving scenario reminds agents about this important topic and also about safe driver discounts.
  • "Critters" - A classroom full of animals of all shapes and sizes reveals the dangers of animal-related car crashes.
  • "Cat Burglar" - A cat burglar teaches agents how to help their customers protect their valuables.

"This campaign is just an opportunity to bring the stuff they study at the actual University of Farmers to life in a fun and entertaining way," said Pat Mendelson, SVP, group creative director at RPA.

"Lint balls, tornados, armadillos and bad '90s dance music-they all play a pretty big part in shaping America's best agents," said Ingersoll.

"Dryer Fire" begins airing on March 24 on CBS during the NCAA Sweet 16 and will air throughout the tournament and later on cable. The four other spots will roll out throughout the year.

About Farmers Insurance Group Inc. Farmers is a trade name and may refer to Farmers Group, Inc. or the Farmers Exchanges, as the case may be. Farmers Group, Inc., a management and holding company, along with its subsidiaries, is wholly owned by the Zurich Financial Services Group. The Farmers Exchanges are three reciprocal insurers (Farmers Insurance Exchange, Fire Insurance Exchange and Truck Insurance Exchange), including their subsidiaries and affiliates, owned by their policyholders, and managed by Farmers Group, Inc. and its subsidiaries. For more information about Farmers, visit our website at or

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, Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Luxor Hotel and Casino and Excalibur Hotel & Casino. For more information, visit