State Farm Brought Out the Worst in Humanity With a Simple Twitter Ad
Looking for racist trolls? State Farm is there.
— State Farm (@StateFarm) December 21, 2016
Every year around this time, social media feeds fill up with pictures of friends getting engaged. It’s like a holiday law. So it’s natural, if cynically irksome, for companies to try to cash in on all that holiday love and jewelry. That’s what State Farm Insurance did just before Christmas with their #ProtectTheBling ads. Just a simple campaign to try to get customers to increase their coverage while celebrating love, right?
Ugh. No, of course it can’t be that simple and sweet. This is Twitter we’re talking about. Rather than see a picture of a couple getting engaged, many people couldn’t make it past the skin colors of the models and decided that the image of a black man proposing to a white woman was a harbinger of the apocalypse and the utter downfall of humanity.
I’m going to suggest you don’t spend too much (or any!) time reading through the comments on that tweet’s thread, and I don’t want to embed the hate here. But whatever you’re imagining, it’s there: disgusting memes and photoshopped images, false statistics, and hateful words all referencing domestic violence, AIDS, divorce, rape, abandonment … it just goes on and on with every despicable thing you can think of. People spent the day calling the ad “disgusting” and, of course, threatening to switch insurance plans. (I wonder how many of those threats came from actual State Farm customers? I’d bet closer to few than many.) In fact, GEICO seems to have had their reply-bot set to tweet to anyone who mentions the company, causing many to call them out for cashing in on hatred.
Today we replied to a tweet offering a quote without seeing the image & its context. We apologize for the error & do not share their views.
— GEICO (@GEICO) December 24, 2016
And that hatred stayed there, piling on that tweet for far too long before the respite came, but come it did. And that, I suppose, is the closest we can come to a silver lining—that we, as a people, are done ignoring the evil. There may always be disgusting, racist hatred, but there is more love. Within a day or two, the good fight was being waged.
— RISE UP RISE UP (@reifman) December 24, 2016
— Candace Lilly (@candigirl784) December 26, 2016
— Lissa Jakubiak (@LissaJakubiak) December 27, 2016
— Khary Penebaker (@kharyp) December 24, 2016
(via Complex, image from Twitter via Complex)
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