State Farm Uses Mutilated Monkeys To Sell Insurance To College Kids

State Farm didn’t win too many people over with its Worst Ad In America-nominated spokesman, so now the company is trying a very different approach by courting college students with mutilated monkey keychains.

As part of its guerrilla marketing campaign to reach the youngsters, State Farm is handing out the pictured keychains to students on college campuses.

The blood-red monkey appears to be a little worse for wear after some sort of accident, sporting a nearly full-body cast, bandages and missing teeth.

Opines blogger Scott Kremer on toy blog Tomopop:

I’m no marketing expert… but I’m not sure if this little guy is who you want representing your corporation, especially when your product is essentially (government-mandated) peace of mind. And honestly, how many college kids are going to be swayed by a maimed, bandaged monkey to switch to a new insurance company?

The guerilla campaign also has people going around slapping stickers on windshields that make it look like your car has been in an accident. They then put a note under the windshield wiper with contact info for the local State Farm agent.

It’s been a while since I was in college but I seem to remember most of my fellow students’ insurance being paid by their parents. So wouldn’t State Farm be better off handing out bloody monkeys to the ‘rents on move-in day?


Edit Your Comment

  1. c!tizen says:

    I love SF!

  2. jerryambler says:

    I don’t think it’s a bad campaign at all. The warez are cheap and it’s something college kids are likely to keep on a key chain or a mantle which is exactly what you need to strengthen a brand in a future consumers mind. It’s not so easy to create a cool small cheap token that will be kept around, and i think this is a good contender.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I don’t either. The more I look at the maimed monkey, the more I laugh. This is more memorable than State Farm’s commercial, that’s for sure. People forget that the point of advertisement isn’t just to sell, it’s also to create associations and links. The maimed monkey is product identity.

    • SecretShopper: pours out a lil' liquor for the homies Wasp & Otter says:

      this seems like a cool little giveaway that when people ask where you got it you could tell them I got it from state farm, and maybe you or someone you know checks them out.

  3. pythonspam says:

    I hope that was supposed to say “State Farm didn’t [win] too many people over… “

    • slyabney says:

      I had to read it several times to make any sense of it. I was like State Farm didn’t what to too many people. The possiblities are almost endless.

      • SecretShopper: pours out a lil' liquor for the homies Wasp & Otter says:

        the “win” was [redacted]

        • slyabney says:

          Yes…I’m well aware it was the word missing from the sentence in the original article. I was stating that withouth it there were endless possiblities for me to make up what State Farm wanted.

          • SecretShopper: pours out a lil' liquor for the homies Wasp & Otter says:

            I wasn’t arguing with you or critiquing your statement, I simply made a feeble attempt at internet humor piggybacking on you comment. Sorry for any confusion.

  4. CalicoGal says:

    The key chain is cool– I’ll take one!

    But if I catch you slapping a sticker on my windshield and/or touching my car further I will break your arm.

  5. AstroPig7 says:

    The stickers and notes are likely illegal. There are laws against placing fliers on vehicles in private parking lots without the consent of the owners, and I would be pissed if someone put something adhesive on mine, even if it was just on the glass.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      The lots might be owned by the college, but it’s too hard to keep anyone from putting fliers under wipers in a vast parking lot when students are in class.

      • AstroPig7 says:

        It’s also far too easy to pass the buck to the 20-something they hired to distribute the fliers. That’s what typically happens when the office manager complains about fliers in our parking lot.

  6. lolBunny says:

    Every time some solicitor puts things on my car as an attempt at advertising, it pisses me off and I makes me NOT want to do business with them. Do not touch my car!!!!

  7. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    “It’s been a while since I was in college but I seem to remember most of my fellow students’ insurance being paid by their parents. So wouldn’t State Farm be better off handing out bloody monkeys to the ‘rents on move-in day?”

    It’s amazing how much college experiences vary. It’s been many years since I was in school but having parents pay for car insurance would have been a very rare luxury for the average student.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      In my college experience, if you were paying your own insurance, you probably had to pay for everything else by yourself too. I had some friends whose parents really had to scrape together every penny just to pay a chunk of tuition, and it was the student’s responsibility to figure out the rest of the tuition and car insurance. It wasn’t meant to be a lesson in responsibility or anything, either, it was just that the family did not have the money. It was really hard on my friends who had to worry about money just to stay in school.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        Also meant to add that overall, most of my friends had parents who paid their car insurance. Mine did until I graduated.

    • dolemite says:

      I paid for everything in college except my rent. My dad did cover that. Gas, insurance, food, books, tuition (through loans) was all me.

  8. c!tizen says:

    “And honestly, how many college kids are going to be swayed by a maimed, bandaged monkey to switch to a new insurance company?”

    Haven’t met many college students, have ya?

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      That’s what I was thinking. Might as well ask “how many college kids are going to sign up for a credit card with a 28% APR because they get a free T-shirt?”

  9. shepd says:

    I the whole thing! It was really!

    (I couldn’t myself!)

  10. lettucefactory says:

    Not gonna lie. That is cute and I want one.

    The sticker/note thing is not cool, though.

    • dolemite says:

      I just called my agent, and she wasn’t familiar with it, but she said she was going to try and find one to send to me.

  11. dolemite says:

    I want one of those monkeys, and I have state farm. Maybe I should call my agent.

    I dunno about slapping stickers on your car to make it look like it has been in an accident though…that would just make me pissed.

  12. Hi_Hello says:

    I’ll sign up for insurance just for the keychain!! throw in a t-shirt and I’ll take their credit card too.
    wait they don’t offer credit card?? wth, I want my bloody monkey t-shirt!!

  13. Red Cat Linux says:

    “Great green globs of greasy grimy gopher guts, mutilated monkey meat, little dirty birdy feet…”

    There is a precedent for kids thinking mutilated monkeys are fun…

  14. VOIDMunashii says:

    I want one! It wouldn’t sway me into getting their insurance, but it would be a nice addition to my collection.

  15. Bativac says:

    State Farm has been chasing the 2nd, 4th and 7th place companies for years. They seem to be forgetting that they are the number one insurance company based on the way they (used to) do business, not based on stupid gimmicks.

    State Farm needs to quit concentrating on this type of stuff and look back in on themselves. They are 10 to 20 years behind the times from a technological standpoint. Spend some money on that side of things before you start churning out cute little trinkets hoping to encourage college kids to overpay for your insurance. Quit focusing on the bottom line above all else and take a second look at your claims policies.

    What good is a funny little keychain gonna do you when your claim drags on for six months to a year over some claim adjuster’s refusal to properly compensate you for repairs to your damaged home? You might be getting a bunch of naive college kids to sign up for your insurance but after you stick it to them on their first claim, they’ll get wise and just head over to a cut rate carrier like Geico or Progressive.

  16. Bob Lu says:

    The monkey is not representing the company, but the target customers: those animals who are capable of nothing but hurting themselves, aka college students.

  17. madanthony says:

    I think part of the reason that they are targeting college students is that they figure if they get them when they are in school, they may stay with state farm after they graduate, get jobs, buy houses, ect and need more insurance.

    They also may be (or at least should be) promoting renter’s insurance, which lots of college-aged kids don’t have and really should.

  18. Remmy75 says:

    My sister in law works at State Farm corporate. I am going to have to hit her up for one of these awesome monkeys.

    Seeing as Illinois State and Illinois Wesleyan are right there, they probably tested it out on them. Seeing as how State Farm owns the town, I am pretty sure the universities gave them free reign to do whatever they wanted.

  19. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    And so it was in December of the year 2010…that the entire marketing department at State Farm Insurance went crazier than a bunch of rats in a tin shit house.

  20. yessongs says:

    Like a bad neighbor State Farm is there!

  21. mrpaulie says:

    This is exactly the sort of thing me and my college friends would find awesome! Where do I get my bloody monkey key chain?

  22. erinpac says:


    Apparently though they are some sort of toy series as well…
    some seem to be for other companies, some not… Target, Adidas, Vans, Sony…
    Don’t see the State Farm one sold anywhere, but there do appear to be others on Amazon and such…

  23. erinpac says: