By Barry Janoff
November 21, 2013: State Farm's on-going saga of Chris and Cliff Paul, who on May 6, 1985, were "separated at birth" as newborns in a hospital, has a new chapter, marketing partners and a growing social media presence.
The story began in late 2012 with a "Power of an Assist," a commercial that showed how the the twin brothers — both played by NBA All-Star guard Chris Paul — followed different yet similar paths: Chris becoming a top basketball player now with the Los Angeles Clippers who leads the NBA in assists, Cliff becoming a State Farm agent who knows how to assist customers.
A subsequent spot, "Game On," showed the two meeting over lunch in a dinner, comparing life stories and then realizing that people have taken sides as to which brother is the master of assist.
In a new TV spot, "Worn to Assist," Chris and Cliff, referred to as "twin assisters," are seen in a basement workshop seeking to "unite their fans by creating something everyone can agree on."
After rejecting such items as an argyle basketball (based on Cliff's love of argyle-style sweaters), CP3-legged basketball shorts and a State Farm clipper ship, they "finally landed on the perfect answer." Each on their own laptops, they simultaneously come up with the Jordan CP3 Cliff's Favorite Argyle basketball shoe. (See the full spot here.)
The commercial breaks tonight (Nov. 21) during NBA games on TNT before going into regular rotation in 30- and 15-second variations. Lead agency is Translation LLC.
In a situation of life imitating art, people can go to the Jordan Web site, design a shoe from among five available argyle styles and then purchase their personalized Jordan CP3 Cliff's Favorite Argyle.
The tie-in is organic, as Paul lists among his roster of endorsement deals both State Farm and Nike's Jordan Brand.
The new spot also leads people to other platforms, including separate Chris Paul and Cliff Paul Twitter destinations (Chris has 2.6 million followers, Cliff 28,000) and a Cliff Paul Instagram site.
In addition, the cottage industry campaign is encompassing a related Xbox 360 and Xbox One branded experience centering around "The Legend of Chris and Cliff Paul." Here, users can view videos of recent and upcoming “Assist” spots, interact with a digital version of the idea room, download user pics and wallpapers and other options.
The campaign has also included a stand-alone spot in which Cliff Paul comes to the aid of the NBA on TNT broadcast crew following a car accident, a spot that broke on the NBA's YouTube platform during the 2013 NBA All-Star Game in which Cliff interviews Chris (see it here) and a promotion in Staples Center during a Clippers game in which fans were given official Cliff Paul glasses.
"When we were working with our agency, Translation, on this campaign, what we said was, 'How do we best convey the attributes of our brands, which is service and assisting people?'" Tim Van Hoof, assistant vice president of marketing communications for State Farm, told NYSportsJournalism earlier this year. "And because we also wanted to support our partnership with the NBA. we asked, 'How can we present this in an NBA environment?'
"The term 'assist' almost immediately came up, because it was such a key word in the NBA and for State Farm," said Van Hoof. "So they came back to us with the idea of looking at the NBA's assist leaders, which brought us to Chris Paul. And that led to the 'Born to Assist' theme, separated at birth and on and on."
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