Friendship Bracelets, Selfies and the Famous Jake: How State Farm Aims to Court Gen Z at BravoCon (Exclusive)

When looking over the list of brand sponsors BravoCon, the annual fan event that celebrates all things Bravo, there are some obvious fits: beauty products, hair styling tools and even cosmetic injectibles (Bravo is the home of “The Real Housewives,” after all).

And then there’s State Farm. Yes, State Farm the insurance company. State Farm the insurance company that turned 100 years old last year. Interestingly, the word “insurance” doesn’t appear in the official list of brand sponsors. And that’s one part of the legacy business’ multi-pronged marketing strategy to attract millennials (individuals born between 1981 and 1996) and specifically, Gen Z (individuals born between 1997 and 2012).

State Farm has been a presenting sponsor at BravoCon since its inception in 2019. Each year, their goal is to go “bigger and better,” explains Kristyn Cook, chief agency sales and marketing officer of State Farm. “We want to continue to build on just the excitement that BravoCon brings in a unique way.”

Going Bigger and Better

This year, State Farm will again bring it’s “BravoHood” on site, a nod to its famous slogan that begins “like a good neighbor.”

Inspired by the Bravo show “Summer House,” attendees will be, per the description, “transported to the Hamptons for some much-needed R&R, lounge by the pool and capture Instagrammable moments featuring ‘Summer House’-inspired props.”

Set and props are by no means an original concept; it’s more the vibe that State Farm is looking to create.

“Thematically, we’ve created the Hamptons-themed neighborhood setting where fans can come they can relax, they can create mementos, and then you know, maybe some Instagram worthy shots in their backyard,” Cook explained.

Essentially, it’s a place where fans will feel comfortable and secure — a home (in State Farm’s signature white and red) smack dab in the center of a 550,000 square foot convention center with thousands of energized, perhaps even frenetic fans.

Tapping Into Talent

One of the biggest draws of BravoCon is fans can interact with talent, affectionately called “Bravolebrities.” Over 160 “bravolebs” are slated to attend BravoCon, and the chance to interact with them and possibly get a photo is a fan’s dream. This year, State Farm worked with NBCU to leverage two “Summer House” stars: Amanda Batula and Paige DeSorbo.

“We are able to tap into this incredible roster of talent across our portfolio — Bravo, in this instance — to help partner them with advertisers who make sense from a total perspective and based on your clients,” explained Sari Feinberg, senior vice president of creative partnerships at NBC Universal.

At 32 and 30-years-old respectively, Batula and DeSorbo are younger millennials who are just a few years older than Gen Z. Over the seasons, viewers have watched Batula date, move in with, and eventually marry costar Kyle Cooke. Currently, the couple are pondering moving out of New York City. While DeSorbo is not as far along in her relationship with Craig Conover (who appears on another Bravo series, “Southern Charm”), they ponder major life choices that lie ahead.

“When you think about State Farm in particular, our business is about helping people to protect who and what they love, mostly through all phases of their lives. And so when you think about that, and then we think about Bravo in particular, they do such a great job of entertaining representations of various life changes,” Cook explained. “So whether you’re buying a home or car or getting married, having children, it’s just a great way to kind of take what’s happening on the pulse of culture with real life and what it means to be a good neighbor.”

“As people attend and experience those things, we want them to think of us as they have these life changes and say, ‘You know what? I’m considering State Farm,” she added. “When you think about the generation of customers that many of us are trying to attract, ‘Summer House’ is a really important property there. And so we decided to lean into that theme. We looked at all their portfolios of shows and we saw that for Gen Z in particular, there’s a high percentage who watch ‘Summer House’ and engage with the content on social and so we just thought that just feels right.”

The pool at BravoCon’s State Farm activation (Lawrence Yee)
The pool at BravoCon’s State Farm activation (Lawrence Yee)

Socially Adept

“Social online engaging fans is very important,” Cook says. To that end, Batula and DeSorbo will host “The BravoCon Morning Show,” a daily livestream via Bravo’s TikTok handle with Daryn Carp. It’s the place where Gen Z fans, who may not have the resources to attend BravoCon in person, can get the biggest news of the day. (The trio will also host “The Best of BravoCon Recap Show” that will stream exclusively on Peacock in the days following the event.)

And then there’s Jake. You know, Jake. From State Farm.

Cook describes him as State Farm’s “own cultural icon” — one that boosts a whopping one million followers on Tik Tok. Like the aforementioned Bravolebs, Jake will make appearances throughout the convention and provide “Jake’s Take” during the shows.

“Last year,” Feinberg noted, “Jake was the star of the show.”

In addition to Jake, State Farm is also partnering with five popular Bravo fan/influencer accounts — @bravobybetches, @bestofbravo, @dannypellegrino, @girlwithnojob, @hellotefi — to further their social reach.

Friendship Never Ends

And of course, there’s the friendship bracelets. The Bravohood will feature a bead bar called the Bravo Fans Forever (yes, BFF) bead bar where attendees can create mementos to take home or trade, Taylor Swift concert style. It’s just one more way State Farm is leaning into the Gen Z zeitgeist.

BravoCon 2023 runs from Nov. 3 – Nov. 5 at Caesars Forum in Las Vegas.

The post Friendship Bracelets, Selfies and the Famous Jake: How State Farm Aims to Court Gen Z at BravoCon (Exclusive) appeared first on TheWrap.