The Original ‘Jake From State Farm’ Guy Wasn't an Actor
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The original Jake from State Farm ad, released in 2011, was a rare commodity. It was a commercial that was actually funny.
You might be familiar with the scene. A man stands alone in his living room at 3 a.m. He whispers into a cordless phone: “Yeah I’m married. Does it matter?”
His wife appears. She assumes infidelity and gets upset, until it transpires that he is speaking with “Jake from State Farm” about his insurance policy.
State Farm hit gold. Jake from State Farm went viral before “going viral” was a widespread term. But did you know that the man playing Jake was not actually an actor?
i‘Jake from State Farm’ has come a long way over the years.
The original Jake from State Farm
As explained by Jordan Fraser on Medium, the original Jake from State Farm was not a trained actor. The character was played by Jake Stone, a real State Farm employee.
Stone won an internal casting competition to land the part of a customer care agent. He was essentially playing himself, but proved the perfect foil to the hysteria on the other end of the line.
Jake from State Farm quickly took off. The concept was fresh and well-executed. It didn’t feel like a sales pitch for State Farm car insurance, but the commercial certainly raised their internet credibility.
Jake became so popular that State Farm went all in. They made Jake their mascot, giving him a prominent section of their website and his own Twitter profile.
The new Jake from State Farm
Back in early 2020, just before the coronavirus turned everything upside down, State Farm was making a radical change.
The original Jake from State Farm was being replaced by actor Kevin Miles. Audiences were shocked when State Farm released a shot for shot remake of the original hit commercial, featuring Miles in place of Stone.
Fraser’s article on Medium suggests Jake was replaced for a trendier model. Miles is younger, cooler, more in-step with the Twitter crowd.
State Farm went with a different explanation: “The original Jake did great at delivering his famous line… however, this expanded role is very demanding, and is best filled by a professional actor.”
In a nice twist, Jake Stone does have a role in the remake, cast as the new Jake’s cubicle neighbor.
State Farm’s successful campaign
The original Jake was extremely popular and many of his fans were upset at the change in personnel. But this hasn’t stopped the new Jake from State Farm campaign from steaming ahead.
The expanded role mentioned above, has now seen Kevin Miles play Jake in dozens of commercials, most of them recorded over Zoom due to the pandemic.
There have been big moments too. Like State Farm’s commercial during the most recent Super Bowl.
In the ad, Jake shares the screen with star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, actor Paul Rudd, and rapper Drake, who introduces himself as “Drake from State Farm.”
The new Jake from State Farm campaign has been well-received by the industry, receiving a 2021 Webby Award.
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