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Shatner and State Farm start a turkey fire

Here’s the thing about William Shatner. Give him any material you can come up with and he kills it every time. Here he is acting out a melodramatic safety spot about Thanksgiving turkey frying safety for State Farm insurance.

Based on early reactions, this looks like one of those rare videos designed to go viral that actually will. Enjoy:

I like this. The “Fryers Club” pun is pretty good, and the overall tone and language suits the subject. It makes fun of the dream that turkey frying will be a life-changing experience, without minimizing the safety concerns. Also, the ad feels true to the characters without relying on sexist stereotypes—the writers resisted the temptation to portray turkey frying fires as purely the result of men cooking.

In a press release, State Farm explains the safety campaign like this:

“Based on data from insurance giant State Farm, more cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year. In fact, grease and cooking-related claims more than double on Thanksgiving Day compared to an average day in November.

With the popularity of turkey frying increasing, more people than ever are at risk for fryer related fires and injuries. U.S. fire departments are responding to more than 1,000 fires each year in which a deep fryer is involved. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says deep fryer fires result in more than $15 million in property damage each year and hot oil splatter can cause serious burns to an adult or life threatening injuries to a child….

To warn people about the dangers of turkey fryers, State Farm has teamed up with actor William Shatner to produce a short video dramatizing an actual accident where the celebrity was burned in a turkey fryer mishap on Thanksgiving. Viewers of the Shatner Fryers Club video are encouraged to support the safety campaign by simply liking or commenting on the video and agreeing to stay safe when frying or cooking turkey.”

Thanksgiving cooking safety. Sounds like just an excuse to work with Shatner.

* * * *

Who created this ad?

Update: Created in-house by the State Farm Public Affairs Digital Media team, with producer Heather Paul. (See comment below.)

Despite this ad showing up yesterday on practically every ad site I follow, no one has id’d the agency or production company. As always, let me know if you know.

Who signed off on it?

David Beigie, State Farm Public Affairs Vice President.

— By Daryl Lang. Filed under Advertising


  1. Excellent turkey fryer education! Thanks State Farm and Mr. Shatner.

  2. Heather Paul says:

    i was actually the Producer for this docudrama as well as the media specialist at State Farm that wrote the press release. This video was not created from Marketing/Advertising but rather from the Public Affairs Digital Media team. We didn’t use an ad firm either. Three of us wrote, shot, and edited this piece ourselves.

  3. mitch lariviere says:

    great ad. if more people created ads like this i wouldn’t need a pvr that allows me to skip ads
    keep up the good work

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