State Farm booth at TwitchCon

State Farm Offers up Six Insights on Engaging Gen Z in the Gaming and Fan Con Space

“All brands know that Gen Z is a tsunami of wallets moving into the next 10 years, and the buying power and the influence that the generation has is profound. Marketers who have that age as a target cannot ignore this audience and should probably start working to understand them and get that relationship going sooner rather than later.”

—Alyson Griffin, Head of Marketing, State Farm

From a viral 2011 commercial to a revival in 2020, Jake from State Farm is a household name and internet sensation. Sporting his signature khakis and red polo, he embodies the brand’s “Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm is There” jingle and can be seen engaging with fans at sporting events or hanging with stars like Drake, Ludacris and Jimmy Fallon. He’s popular among Gen Zers, with a TikTok account boasting 1.1 million followers, making him the perfect icon for State Farm to base its recent TwitchCon booth presence around.

Enter: Jake’s Arcade Challenge. The brand built a 20-foot by 30-foot exhibit for the Las Vegas gaming convention put on by livestreaming video platform Twitch. The red-branded space featured glowing graphics, a dj booth, eight arcade cabinets and a prize redemption counter for TwitchCon attendees to play the first-of-its-kind retro-style State Farm IP video game, Jake’s Jingle Quest.

In the game, Jake must dash and leap through a neighborhood, collecting “Sound Notes” (a reference to the brand’s jingle) to bring a block party back to life, while avoiding storm clouds. At the arcade cabinets, attendees battled it out for prizes and the chance to get on the leaderboard.

infinity-marketing-hp-omen-anime-fan entering portalMore on Gen Z at Fan Cons:

Having served as a sponsor and activated at TwitchCon since 2019, State Farm has learned the ins and outs of engaging the Gen Z gamer demographic (not to mention its 2022 launch of the Gamerhood Challenge digital and live gaming competition). This year, however, the brand aimed to create a larger booth activation, bringing in Jake from State Farm and popular streamers and influencers as special guests, and developed its own gaming experience to attract TwitchCon attendees to its exhibit.

To delve further into State Farm’s Gen Z engagement strategy, we tapped Alyson Griffin, head of marketing at State Farm, for tips on building brand awareness, meeting zoomers where they are and creating a standout booth presence.


Jake from State Farm holds a pin at TwitchCon

Participants had the chance to earn one of three collectible Jake from State Farm pins with each play of the Jake’s Jingle Quest game.

Start early to build brand awareness.

State Farm, and the insurance category at large, doesn’t generally target Gen Z because they’re too young for their own policies, says Griffin. Instead, Gen Z-related marketing investments are about generating future demand and creating a relationship, which is why Jake from State Farm being a cultural icon is an important avenue for the brand to reach a younger audience. “Putting him where our fans are is a recipe that has been working for us,” she says. After all, at TwitchCon, attendees waited for two hours to meet Jake.

“All brands know that Gen Z is a tsunami of wallets moving into the next 10 years, and the buying power and the influence that the generation has is profound,” Griffin says. “Marketers who have that age as a target cannot ignore this audience and should probably start working to understand them and get that relationship going sooner rather than later.”


Meet Gen Z where they are—on gaming and social platforms.

Gen Zers primarily engage with Jake from State Farm on TikTok, where his videos rack up thousands of views. He’s also featured in the NBA 2K basketball video game series as a non-playable character, and in the metaverse, Jake was introduced as part of State Farm Neighborhood in iHeartLand on Roblox.

“You have to show up where your customers are and not expect, especially in the insurance category, for them to come to you,” Griffin says. “So these things are all continuing to build on each other as Jake gets a bigger and bigger presence online. As a non-endemic brand, we have to create an experience that matches gamers.”

A longtime sponsor of the Twitch Rivals esports tournament, State Farm also took over the arena for the live event at TwitchCon, reaching fans watching the stream online.


Add gamification elements.

Understanding gamers’ competitive spirit, State Farm developed an activation that combined the brand’s iconic jingle and spokesperson into its own Jake’s Jingle Quest game. Controlled by a joystick and button, the 2D throwback arcade game also drew Gen X parents who grew up with similar gaming experiences. State Farm encouraged repeat play by offering three custom Jake from State Farm collectible pins, earned with each game attempt. Across three days, the brand saw more than 10,000 Jake’s Jingle Quest games played.

“A large leaderboard display encouraged participants to reach the top. A guy came back 80 times to get to the top of the leaderboard, but he kept missing it. Someone would beat his score, and he’d come back to try and beat it,” Griffin says. “So that just shows how fun it was and how much gamers were excited about getting their name displayed.”

TwitchCon attendees gather around State Farm's arcade game consoles

TwitchCon attendees gathered in State Farm’s 20-foot by 30-foot red-branded booth to try their hand at the retro-style game cabinets, win prizes and get their names on the leaderboard.


Create a standout booth presence.

In addition to the large leaderboard screen looming over the booth, State Farm made sure to incorporate elements that would attract attendees on the expo floor and create a fun atmosphere, including prominently featuring its distinct red color scheme, logo and Jake from State Farm imagery; pumping out dj beats; and being stationed in a high-traffic spot near the Twitch Rivals Arena.


Book influencers for meet-and-greets.

State Farm’s booth hosted special appearances from content creators Khleo Thomas, Lana Rae and LuluLuvely. A schedule at the booth let attendees know when their favorite influencers, plus Jake from State Farm, would be available for in-person meet-and-greets. In the past, State Farm has hosted gaming personalities from its Gamerhood Challenge, but this year, the team decided to go with content creators and streamers who were brand-friendly and would be a draw for attendees.

“Every year, we evaluate gaming talent to see who’s aligned with our brand, what is their reach and what’s their persona, because we’re trying to match the vibe of the experience,” says Griffin.


Don’t forget to engage virtual fans.

For those who couldn’t make it out to Vegas, State Farm partnered with Snap to create a limited-time Lens on Snapchat that, through augmented reality and a smartphone camera, turned users’ surroundings into the actual arcade experience found on-site at TwitchCon. The Snap Lens allowed them to walk through the booth, interact with Jake as his dj persona and then snap a selfie with him in Bitmoji form. Attendees could access the Snap Lens through a QR code at the booth.

State Farm wanted to stretch beyond the traditional Snapchat filter and also took over the app’s Lens carousel. While the Snap Lens was only activated for a short time, the virtual experience garnered almost 63 million seconds of engagement.

“We know from TwitchCon, and the Gamerhood Challenge as well, that we’re doing well when we create the conditions that are authentic to our brand,” Griffin says. “We’re not trying to be something or someone that we’re not. We’re always talking about that ‘Good Neighbor’ spirit and leaning into our assets, like the jingle, Jake and the color red, but we’re doing it in a fun way that the gamers are now expecting of us.” Agency: Infinity Marketing Team.


See Jake’s Jingle Quest in action:

Photo credit: State Farm

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