Sell Insurance to those who don’t need it? State Farms shows you how!

Published: May 31, 2023

min read

State Farm, the Insurance Company is here with ‘Gamerhood Challenge’ for the second time with bigger challenges and bringing YouTube along as a streaming partner in this exercise.

State Farm has spent a lot of time and energy trying to see where the younger target group spent its time. They spent ten years researching gaming and esports in a bid to reach younger consumers and the result was last year’s ‘Gamehood Challenge’ which was a great success – it got about 10 million views on Twitch. The challenge is back again on the first of June - bigger and with bolder challenges!

The Gamerhood Challenge is part reality series / part esports marketing – and stems from a need to explain an abstract concept such as insurance to a group of people who don’t have a need for it yet! So State Farm knew that it had to get really creative to get the attention of Millennials and Gen Z.

The brand’s spokes-character is Jake, who is a non-playable character in the NBA 2K gaming franchise, and who interacts with users in the metaverse (and setting up mini-games and quests).

In the “Gamerhood Challenge,” well-known gamers, streamers and content creators are pitted against one another in a series of gaming challenges. The setting is a custom-built neighborhood of tiny homes, where there are obstacles. It could be anything – like getting a flat tire on the way to an ice cream reward — that insurance can mitigate. On Twitch, this had 52,000 people compete in trivia and word games.

Gamerhood Challenge 2 promises to be bigger and brasher than its predecessor. Contestants could be paired in teams of two; weekly winners will compete with Jake, who will have a different special guest each week, in backyard games like Lawn Jenga and Pictionary; all the while ensuring the insurable moments are included, which they say are a bit ‘outrageous’! Insurable moments could be a pipe bursting in a gamer’s house while the games are on, which highlights the need for homeowners insurance, for example.

This year, they have added YouTube along with Twitch as the show’s streaming platforms to create more opportunities for audience engagement. Knowing what Millennials and Gen Z feel about charity and good deeds, “Gamerhood Challenge 2” will contribute to charities of the teams’ choice.

Insurance and Future Customers

Selling insurance is tricky. And selling insurance to a demographic that doesn’t even think of insurance is a real challenge.

But what a great strategy from State Farms!

You present a fun, engaging game to a group of young people who don’t really worry about life, or health or home insurance. You engage them, drawing them into a game that is fun as well as immersive! You make the experience so interesting and fun for them, that when they think of insurance, your name is going to pop up first in their minds!

State Farms spent about ten years doing their research into this – their audience and what would get their attention. They are the young crowd – Millennials and Gen Z who would much rather play a game online than get out on the playing field. Not that they don’t – except that online is more fun.

The first Gamerhood Challenge was so successful on Twitch that State Farms is here with their second tournament. And they are playing it on Twitch as well as YouTube. Wider reach and a bigger audience and a much deeper engagement!

The reality show type of confessionals and the high drama will add to the impact created by the real-time interaction between the brand and the viewers. Gaming and eSports are rapidly gaining traction among Gen Z as they see it as a great way to have fun. Interactive content has tremendous appeal for Gen Z. And with every interaction, State Farms will have collected a lot of data on each player and viewer! This is a veritable gold mine, if ever there was one!

It might appear to be a whole lot of effort and outlay to reach a group of people who just may not be in the market for insurance right now. But it is actually a very smart strategic move. The potential return on this investment can be pretty impressive. It is a smart marketing strategy that sees current needs and responds to it but also anticipates and even creates or generates future demand.

And State Farms is showing others just how it is done!


Pete Johnson

Pete is a MarTech expert guru with a knack for getting diverse MarTech solutions work for brands. He has a wealth of experience in working with a plethora of MarTech platforms that dive Personalized Omnichannel Experiences. When he's not at work, you can find him playing basketball or listening to jazz.


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