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This Is So Stupid

Send Jake To A Farm Upstate

Caitlin Clark daps up Jake From State Farm, for some reason, at the WNBA Draft
Emily Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images

Look, I understand that Monday's WNBA Draft was sponsored by an insurance company. Tie-ins and synergy and "brand activations" are not new concepts. That doesn't mean I have to accept or enjoy them. Like many others watching the draft, I was wondering why, after being selected by the Indiana Fever first overall, Caitlin Clark was hugging that red-suited clown from the commercials. Similar to Salt Bae at the World Cup or Drake at any sporting event, he thinks he's on the team.

Yes, again, I understand that State Farm has a deal not just for the draft but with Clark, too. Considering how meager rookie contracts are in the WNBA, she'll be happy to take the money. My grievance is not with her. The uniquely annoying part here is that at actual, real-world events, I don't want to see Jake from State Farm's face—not at an Eagles game, or an Iowa basketball game, or the WNBA Draft. He is a guy in commercials. Stay in those commercials. Do not attempt to breach the realm and become a part of reality.

He's not.

In an interview with Sportico published last week, State Farm marketing executive Patty Morris wondered why inserting an insurance mascot into real-life sports situations wasn't more common. “We’ve tried to look at other places where this has been done, and there aren’t many, if any,” Morris told Sportico. I can make a guess as to why: It's deeply fucking annoying. More from the article:

“It was really about being able to have a physical, living representation of what it means to be a good neighbor and to allow people to interact with that representation,” Morris said. “When people see Jake from State Farm, we want them to think positively about the brand and really be able to connect and identify with him.”

As a result of Monday's sideshow, I do not think positively about the brand, nor do I identify with this jabroni. No part of me has the desire for Jake from State Farm to be real, or to meet him. He is not a good neighbor; a good neighbor respects your space and time. We had an agreement: I would accept that he had a job to do in breaks during the television I actually wanted to watch, and I would not mention his presence. Now he has violated that agreement by appearing outside of the TV.

Kevin Miles, the actor who plays Jake from State Farm, is probably an affable enough guy, but his existence as a real-life person has been subsumed by a persona with a singular, machinic purpose: to sell insurance. If Kevin Miles, off the clock, went to an NBA game and had courtside seats—well, first of all, nobody's giving Kevin Miles courtside seats. He's paying for those out of his State Farm money. But even if he were courtside, there would be no situation in which the jumbotron would display "Kevin Miles, Actor." He would be "Jake from State Farm." This is the burden that Insurance Pagliacci has to live with. That doesn't mean I have to share it with him.

Jake from State Farm is a Bud Bowl beer with less charisma, an interloper hijacking real life and perverting it into yet another branding opportunity where someone is trying to get my money. His presence suffocates the fun like a nasty fart. Get this fucking ad back inside the TV and leave him there.

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