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We Are Farmers

Advertising Agency
Los Angeles, USA
Pat Mendelson, SVP/executive creative director at RPA, discusses creating the Farmers Insurance jingle - one of the most popular brand mnemonics in America

The power of brand advertising to cultivate an iconic earworm — when a tune plays repeat in your head — is incredibly compelling. Especially in the category of insurance brands. 

An independent research company, Veritonic, recently found the Farmers Insurance jingle is one of the most popular brand mnemonics in America with an audio recall score of 90. It achieved that ranking ahead of powerful brands that spend hundreds of millions of dollars more per year on advertising. Using a brand name, a melody and brand characters drives recall among consumers. Veritonic found, "Audio logos that use the brand-name score 29% higher overall.” Farmers using these best practices resulted in ranking number-four overall and this made us pause and consider just how far Farmers has come in the past decade or so. 

Years ago, when a consumer was shown a Farmers commercial, identifying it as such was not automatic. 

It’s a measure that researchers call ‘linkage’, and Farmers didn’t have any. 

State Farm had a memorable, historic jingle and spent about ten times as much per year on media. Changing the perception of Farmers Insurance would be quite a challenge. Not only was there a need to create a compelling, memorable campaign, but also compelling, memorable icons to go with it. 

Much of the credit for the jingle goes to our clients. They were clear that they wanted icons. They didn’t want advertising that tried to be ‘iconic’ in the way it was shot or anything that wasn’t tangible. They had been promised iconic advertising by previous agencies, and it hadn’t worked. Subtlety is out of the question when your name is virtually the same as your biggest competitor.

At the same time, just splashing their logo up on screen repeatedly wouldn’t do the trick. Their previous commercials had logos in every frame and their name peppered throughout the copy, yet consumers were able to completely ignore them. 

Having such clear direction helped. In the end, we utilised icon J.K. Simmons as our Professor Burke to the jingle.

One probable reason for the success of the jingle is that it was created to come right out of the concept for the campaign, The University of Farmers®. It feels like something that you’d hear at a university. There’s a definite pride in the way the singers belt it out. 

It wasn’t designed to follow a particular trend or popular style of music. Nor was it developed with the sole purpose of being ‘catchy’. It says the name of the company once. It doesn’t repeat it over and over again, hoping it can bludgeon you into remembering it. Over the years, the campaign has evolved, but our icons, like the jingle, have remained the same. 

While giving the Oscar to J.K. Simmons for Best Supporting Actor, Neil Patrick Harris sang the jingle. The same jingle was the subject of a sketch on Saturday Night Live. And the answer to a question on Jeopardy. 

These are just a few of the highlights. Type ‘Farmers Jingle’ into YouTube and you’ll see more of them. 

People used to have no idea who we were. Now they know. We are Farmers. And they’ll sing it for us when given the chance. 


Pat Mendelson is SVP/executive creative director at RPA

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