USAA Really Wants To Remind You That You Are Not Eligible To Use Their Products

Class Is Boring
3 min readSep 21, 2021

The United Services Automobile Association, better known by their chanted initials USAA, has embarked on an unusual advertising strategy: they are producing and airing commercials during NFL games meant to remind the viewing public that they may not, under any circumstances, use the company to buy any kind of insurance.

USAA was started because, due to the fact that America treats military veterans like shit despite pretending to care about them during the time they actually spend doing the work of empire in the military, which, combined with trauma experienced during that time, makes veterans expensive (or by the calculus of other insurance companies) impossible to insure.

Most commercials seek to accomplish one of several things: making the viewing audience want to purchase something; showing the audience that the thing they want to purchase is affordable and thus, they are able to purchase it; or just kind of wriggle into the audiences head, be it by the Skittles and Old Spice method of weird absurdist humor-adjacent imagery or the cologne and perfume method of making the audience think that if they use the product they will be able to fuck a mermaid or whatever. USAA has gone with the rarely seen method of making an audience kind of want insurance (not a sexy product to advertise, hence the necessity of the many legendary advertising campaigns by insurance companies) while knowing that even if they have as much money as Super Bowl winning Big Galoot Rob Gronkowski, they cannot use USAA to get it unless they are either a military veteran or a direct descendant or spouse of one.

There are two explanation I can think of for this choice. The first and most nefarious would be that they’re trying to make military service seem more desirable because if you live through it, you can get the cool insurance that Gronk couldn’t get in the commercial. This seems very tinfoil-hat on the one hand, but on the other, the military has tried to convince people to join up by pretending that it’s like Halo in old commercials, and leveraging a private company to do this kind of thing wouldn’t exactly be the worst thing they’ve done to sign people up. In addition to any kickbacks from the military itself, it would also presumably expand USAA’s customer base if there were more veterans who could buy their insurance.

The second is that they just thought making fun of people who want their insurance but can’t buy it is funny and makes current veterans feel like they’re passing up an exclusive opportunity by not buying, and comes as more potential customers are presumably returning home as the boots-on-the-ground portion of the Afghan war comes to an end (hopefully). That makes more sense but is less interesting and still a strange watching experience for the much larger percentage of viewers for whom these expensive commercials are basically pure waste.

So remember, folks: USAA exists, and you are not allowed to use them and would have to be “special” like Gronk to even attempt to do so.