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Ad Nauseam

State Farm Discontinues Its “Humiliated Cyclist” Ad

10:56 AM PDT on April 11, 2008

Our State Farm Ad Nauseam featuring "Jim" the humiliated bike commuter drew a lot of interest. The post was picked up all over, generated more than 10,000 YouTube views and, along with all of last week's congestion pricing-related web traffic, it crashed our server on Friday.

Now, according to Director of Marketing Communications TIm Van Hoof, State Farm is yanking the ad:

As I mentioned in an earlier comment, I am sorry the advertisement offended anyone. Our intention with this particular ad was to recognize and empathize with the everyday challenge of high gas prices, and suggest that State Farm could help by providing lower auto insurance rates than a person may be receiving from their current provider.

But clearly we have heard your concerns. In fact, we take very seriously each letter, email and blog comment we receive.

During the past few days, I discussed the perception of this advertisement with others at State Farm, and we decided the right thing to do would be to discontinue it. We will remove this ad as quickly as possible from the current rotation schedule.

Please know that State Farm is very concerned about doing what we can to improve the health, safety and environment in our communities.

For example, in numerous states, employees can earn up to $1.50 a day by ridesharing, walking, or riding a bike to work. We also have more than 1,200 employees participating in van pooling throughout the country.

State Farm has also been a supporter of bicycle safety through the thousands of bicycle rodeos we've held for children throughout the US and Canada. We remain open to discussion about how State Farm might partner with the bicycling community in the future.

It's commendable that State Farm was so responsive, and hopefully the company will actually consider some of the many suggestions put forth by Streetsbloggers and others. Still, we must admit we're a little sad that they're pulling the ad. If nothing else, it does depict a guy biking to work as an alternative to suffering the high costs of driving. Besides, we'd grown kinda fond of Jim and Sheila.

Godspeed, Jim.

Story by Brad Aaron

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