Gamers Get Pummeled by Fake Heat Waves and Tornados in State Farm’s ‘Gamerhood Challenge’

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The Gamerhood was actually a two-stage set located in a 50,000-square-foot studio.

The average millennial’s eyes glaze over when insurance is the topic of conversation, so to make the subject more appealing and meet younger generations where they are, State Farm launched the Gamerhood Challenge, a digital + live gaming competition packed with obstacles that served as “insurable moments.” Each week, eight world-renowned gamers, streamers and content creators competed inside their own branded tiny house within the “Gamerhood,” with opportunities for at-home viewers to get in on the action via a Twitch extension. Aimed at generating future demand, the program “exceeded expectations,” according to the brand, generating 1.3 million views during the first episode alone.

The physical footprint for the Gamerhood Challenge was built inside a 50,000-square-foot studio in Austin, where State Farm created a neighborhood of tiny houses across a two-stage set—one showcasing the façade of each home along a cul-de-sac, and one showcasing the interior of the homes, where the gamers competed to win a donation to their charity of choice. The entire setup was crafted in the style of a’90s sitcom, including the campaign trailer.

state-farm-treasure-hunt-2021-footprint_teaserMore Digital + Live Programs:

The format was consistent across all five episodes, which aired every Wednesday night in June on both State Farm’s and media partner Rooster Teeth’s social channels. Two esports personalities who served as program hosts first challenged the gamers to three rounds of trivia, with the winner earning a special advantage for the forthcoming gaming tournament, which was delivered by popular brand personality Jake from State Farm. Meanwhile, consumers at home could also compete in the trivia rounds in real time through State Farm’s custom Twitch extension to win prizes like digital gift cards. Questions were mostly geared towards pop culture knowledge, with a few subtle hints at the insurance category and the brand along the way.

“In the past, esports has been our primary way in, and we know that esports is an important sliver of gaming—but a sliver—and that general gaming is a much bigger piece of the pie,” says Alyson Griffin, head of marketing at State Farm. “And by tapping into creators and gamers, not just an esports team or one esports gamer that centers around one title, we wanted to expand the reach because our goal was broad general market exposure.”

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Gamers didn’t know what challenges they would face ahead of time, meaning their reactions were all genuine.

Following trivia, the eight featured “neighbors” faced off in a gaming tournament during which they encountered comedic challenges relating to home ownership, like pipes bursting, tornados and heat waves, as streamers at home watched the madness unfold. State Farm had the ability to manipulate the gamers’ physical environments via custom hydraulic systems built into each tiny house to make the battle more challenging, and since the competitors weren’t privy to the kind of disasters they would face ahead of time, the reactions caught on camera were all genuine. At the close of each episode of the Gamerhood Challenge, the gamers, along with Jake and the series hosts, participated in (pre-recorded) neighborhood activities, like street hockey and lawn games.

Naturally, the program was heavily amplified on social thanks to the broad reach of Jake, the hosts and the competitors, some of whom livestreamed their gameplay. State Farm also purchased a media buy on Twitch’s central website carousel.

“Any good marketing program is capturing current, generating future, keeping your loyal customers loyal and creating advocates,” says Griffin. “This fits firmly in that ‘generating future demand’ space. We know that millennials and Gen Z have to understand insurance in order to ultimately be one of our customers. And we’re a category where they’re apathetic at best to engage with. So we’re trying to break out in new, different, interesting ways to start getting on the radar of younger customers. And our goal is that awareness and brand affinity, but a slight touch of education mixed in. That’s why we think Gamerhood is so interesting.” Agency: Infinity Marketing Team.

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Challenge participants each competed from within a different decked-out tiny house environment.

Kait Shea
Posted by Kait Shea

Kait joined EM in 2015 and today enjoys her role as senior editor, digital content. When she’s not in reporter mode, rocking mermaid pants at Comic-Con or running laps at MWC Barcelona, you can find her at home listening to music.
View all articles by Kait Shea →

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