State Farm’s “Following” Encourages Volunteerism

Since being released a few days ago, State Farm’s two-minute film “Following”, created by DDB Chicago, has racked up nearly four million views on YouTube. It centers on a melancholy man riding on the subway, who sees a pet adoption ad with a dog’s picture. Suddenly, that same dog is sitting right next to him. The pup ends up following the man to work, and we see him going about his day. He encounters a “Support the Vets” ad on Facebook, and then the vet appears, playing with the dog. At lunch, the man sees a news story featuring a young dropout, and then sees the dropout himself. He’s being followed (almost haunted) by those in need, and can’t get them out of his mind. What can he do? Well, the answer comes towards the end of the spot…he goes to a Youth Outreach Mentoring Center to volunteer.

This is the type of ad that seems like it could be polarizing. Many will find it moving and meaningful, while others might see the storytelling as heavy-handed, bleeding heart sentimentality. Honestly, I can see it both ways. But I think the central message, about the importance of volunteerism, is undeniably strong. So what you do think? By the way, the song is a cover of The Chainsmokers’ “Don’t Let Me Down” performed by Joy Williams. Here’s a good article about the spot from Advertising Age.

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