For years, State Farm has reached TV viewers with its star-studded commercials. Chris Paul, Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers, and Alfonso Ribeiro have all lent their mugs to the insurance company's clever advertisements.
But the most popular face for almost a decade has been "Jake from State Farm." In his now famous 2011 debut, the character helps a married man with an insurance claim over the phone at 3 a.m. An irate wife, who believes she's caught her man cheating, grabs the phone and demands to know what Jake is wearing.
His answer, "Uh, khakis," was an instant classic.
However, if you've paid attention, the man who plays Jake is no longer the man in the original ad. Let's find out who the two Jake from State Farms are, and why the character was re-cast in the company's more recent campaigns.
The original man cast as Jake from State Farm is Jake Stone, an actual State Farm insurance agent who worked in Bloomington, Illinois. In March 2011, his roommate (a fellow State Farm employee) mentioned a casting call for the company's upcoming advertising spots. Stone, who juggled his insurance call center job with a bartending gig, gave it a shot and checked it out. The next thing you know, the 26-year-old was off to California to shoot ads for his employer.
Stone was chosen to deliver all of two words ("Uh, khakis") in State Farm's "State of Unrest" promo. Little did he know that the line would give birth to a viral meme and corporate mascot.
Stone's newfound fame also came with unsavory gossip. In October 2015, there was a false report that Jake from State Farm has been murdered by his wife over cheating allegations. Stone took to Twitter to debunk the hoax, writing, "Contrary to recent reports, I am alive. Thank you all for your concern."
However, life didn't drastically change for Stone after the commercial aired. In a 2011 interview with The Pantagraph, he said that he did occasionally get recognized when he introduced himself to callers as "Jake from State Farm." But otherwise, he said, "As I put it to a friend, I'm just putting on my khakis, one leg at a time."
In 2020, State Farm revived the popular "State of Unrest" campaign, but with an updated twist. The role of Jake was re-cast by professional actor Kevin Mimms. According to his LinkedIn page, Mimms (who also goes by Kevin Miles) trained in theatre and acting at the Chicago Academy for the Arts. In 2012, he graduated with a bachelor's in fine arts from Webster University. Fun fact: he was also a DJ in his student days and booked an opening gig for Girl Talk at a Webster concert in 2011—the same year Stone was introduced to the world as Jake.
Mimms is currently based in Los Angeles and has made a modest career for himself. His IMDb page shows that he's booked a steady stream of roles in short films. He's also had small parts in two popular CBS shows: S.W.A.T. and Criminal Minds.
Still, most of us will recognize him as Jake 2.0. His first commercial for the company debuted in early 2020 in a Super Bowl pregame spot. As the new version of Jake, Mimms still makes a reference to the khakis. Check out the remake of the original ad—and take note of a special appearance by the original Jake!
Some viewers have raised the question of why Jake was re-cast for the new campaign. Patty Morris, State Farm assistant vice president of marketing and brand, explains that an actual company employee would not have been a right fit for the job.
"[Stone] did great at delivering his famous line, 'Uh…khakis,'" Morris told Marketing Daily. "However, this expanded role is very demanding and is best filled by a professional actor."
"The Jake character embodies all of us at State Farm," she added. "Jake isn’t a call center rep or an agent or claims rep. He transcends job titles. He represents who we are as a company—a helpful humanization of what a good neighbor should be. He can be any race or gender."
There have been theories that Mimms was hired to placate a more woke audience, but it's pure unfounded speculation. The fact is that the 2020 ad campaign has required the character of Jake from State Farm to do multiple commercials, deliver many more lines, and shoot alongside the company's celebrity clients. Since Stone continues to live in Illinois, where he no longer works for State Farm, it just made sense for the insurance giant to pick a formally trained pro to meet the demands of the role.