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Originally established for times when I needed more than 140 characters to finish a thought on marketing or media.

Jackson Hewitt: ‘This is Steve’


ED’S NOTE: This post reflects my interest as a marketing student in advertising, promotion, search-engine optimization, and viral marketing. No agencies or products are endorsed. The opinions expressed here are mine and in no way reflect the opinions of my employers.

Finally, I’m writing about an advertising effort that does not involve the Toyota Venza Girl (who is also in the eBay “Blue Jeans” commercial and the McRib commercial) or Allstate’s Mayhem — even though those characters are what attract my core readership.  

My attention was caught tonight when I heard Montell Jordan‘s This Is How We Do It.  The infectious R&B hit from 1995 introduces us to Steve, who is way too happy to be having his taxes done at Jackson Hewitt. (As I’ve written before, I have a very short attention span, and if a TV ad catches my attention as I’m studying/doing laundry/blogging while half-watching a show I recorded, that tells me other people are likely to be noticing, too. Of course I had to find out more about this spot.)

Turns out that Jackson Hewitt has a channel on YouTube and is trying to rebrand the tax season with “tax refund joy.” Indeed, Steve is smiling and dancing, and the whole office joins in the celebration of Steve’s refund. The commercial’s narrator explains for us:


Steve did his taxes at Jackson Hewitt and just found out how much he’ll be getting back this year. Want to feel as excited as Steve at tax time? Jackson Hewitt’s How You Do It℠.

~ Jackson Hewitt Tax Service
“This Is Steve,” 2012

The ad closes with a simple and persuasive call to action: “Let us estimate your refund. Free. No appointment necessary.”

At the time of this writing, this clip, posted Jan. 4 on YouTube, had 208,379 views, 1,327 likes, 22 dislikes, and 580 comments.

From the YouTube comments:

Every time I watch this, I can’t just watch it once … I have to watch it at least 7 times in a row. That way every time I watch it, I can look at one dancer at a time and laugh all over again. Hysterical!

~ mysticalblonde,
YouTube member

That’s high praise, mysticalblonde. I don’t have that kind of time, but I think it’s cool that you’re so pumped about a tax service’s commercials, and Jackson Hewitt folks should be, too: That’s quite an impression.

Of the 580 comments on the clip posted on YouTube, mysticalblonde’s was one of the more coherent and insightful: She says she watches the commercial several times in a row and explains why. Among the other comments were a lot of “LMFAO” and “My fave!” — in addition to heated debates about “arm jiggles” and “the white lady,” commentary not really any more or less sophisticated than other remarks on other channels.

And although I don’t buy the idea that tax time is something to celebrate, I have to give Jackson Hewitt’s ad agency props for at least making me forget for 30 seconds how shitty tax season really is.

About the Jackson Hewitt YouTube Channel
(As of Jan. 24, 2012)

  • Total Upload Views: 382,220
  • Joined: Oct. 15, 2006
  • Subscribers: 135

AGENCY:22squared, the folks who brought us the Baskin Robbins “Who Is That?” spot.


Author: Jacqui Barrineau

Jacqui Barrineau is a writer and editor who lives in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., with husband Trey, a Shetland Sheepdog and two unhelpful-but-funny cats. Her work has appeared in "So to Speak" and "Calliope," and she's a regular contributor to the flash-fiction sites Paragraph Planet and Doorknobs & Bodypaint. Once upon a time, she was the audience engagement editor at USA Today. Now she does other fun things that involve advertising, marketing and social media. The views expressed here and in other outlets are hers, not her clients'. Outside of work, she's proud to serve on the Northern Virginia Community College Marketing Advisory Committee. As a committee member, she joins industry leaders in lending their knowledge and expertise to ensure the college's Marketing curriculum is relevant and responsive to the needs of the students and the surrounding business communities.

2 thoughts on “Jackson Hewitt: ‘This is Steve’

  1. Agreed! I wish someone would tell me who the actor is.

  2. Steve is the Shizzz!! He needs a fan page on fb!!!!