black mulberry messenger bag Behind the Faces in All Those Car Insurance Ads
These are among the ideas springing from the Illinois heartland, where State Farm marketers plot their next ad moves in a massive, cubicle filled headquarters in the city of Bloomington, two hours south of Chicago. The “magic jingle” campaign, launched last year by New York based Translation, seeks to get younger consumers to realize the importance of the company’s 18,000 agents. (The company sells policies online, in person and by phone but still assigns every customer an agent.) Ads feature agents who magically appear when summoned by young drivers and apartment dwellers who need insurance help, including one spot with LeBron James that debuted Saturday.
Meanwhile, the company plans to revamp a separate TV campaign launched about a year ago by DraftFCB that instructs users to visit a special website to check for discounts of up to 40%. The new effort, to be led by roster agency DDB, will put less of a focus on discounts and more on the company’s multiple insurance lines, including homeowners and life partly an appeal to millennials, who will need more products as they age. “This campaign will evolve to a bigger message to cover all the needs a customer may have,” said Pam El, VP marketing. “It’s working. If you look at our quotes and our new business, it’s way up,” President CEO Thomas Wilson said on a recent earnings call. Mayhem even has a cousin a character named “Mala Suerte” (bad luck) aimed at Hispanic consumers. And the insurer is still running ads with longtime pitchman Dennis Haysbert, who offers a trusted voice.
Mayhem “has become the villain to [the] Dennis Haysbert hero,” said Lisa Cochrane, VP integrated marketing communications.
Still, Allstate continues to lose market share. It dropped to 9.96% in third quarter 2010, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Analysts pin some of the blame on rate increases in some big states to improve profitability, especially in homeowners, which could have a spillover effect into auto for those who bundle insurance. will eventually win out,” said CMO Ted Ward. That approach, in a nutshell, is positioning insurance as a commodity like product where price trumps all. The company, based just outside Washington, runs multiple campaigns by Martin Agency with the gecko as the centerpiece to keep people’s attention as it spreads a very simple message that “15 minutes can save you 15% or more.”
And it’s working: From 1999 to 2009, Geico more than doubled its market share to 8.21%, according to the Insurance Information Institute, and its share is growing more this year to 8.29% through third quarter. Much of the credit goes to Flo. She is the star of the “Superstore” campaign, by agency of record Arnold Worldwide, Boston, which is meant to turn insurance into something “you can touch and feel,” said Jeff Charney, chief marketing officer for Progressive .
While Flo is designed to close the deal with consumers who are already in the market, Progressive ‘s new character, called the Messenger,
is meant to get more people thinking about insurance. In ads, the mustachioed, leather jacket wearing man lurks in places such as a mattress store where he sneaks up on customers, pitching them on discounts. “Flo helps when you shop, he reminds you that you should shop,” Mr. Charney said. The “We Are Farmers” campaign, launched in September by Santa Monica, Calif., indie shop RPA, is set in a fictional university, modeled after the real life University of Farmers employee training program. A character named “Professor Burke” guides agents though over the top scenarios meant to sell the insurers multiple insurance lines, such as one ad showing a jet ski caught in a tree. The effort replaces the touchy feely “True Stories” campaign by Farmers’ former agency, Richards Group, which showcased real customers.
The ads tested well, but “in the living room it just wasn’t cutting through,” said Chief Marketing Officer Kevin Kelso. The animated pink haired “Erin Esurance” has been sidelined in favor of “The Saver,” an actor who plays a customer service agent who reminds consumers they can talk to “people when you want them.” The campaign is by Duncan/Channon, San Francisco. “The internet shopping population had moved very mass market . we wanted to more appropriately direct our messaging,” said CMO John Swigart. The spokesperson is “an icon that represents Nationwide and being an advocate for the consumer . showing how we can help them in their everyday life,” said Jennifer Hanley, senior VP marketing for the insurer, which has 3,300 agents and 5,200 storefronts. Liberty Mutual, of Boston, touts car replacement coverage in an ad by Hill Holliday, Boston, where a car is rear ended, shattered and then magically put back together as somber piano music plays. Consumers “want more than a chuckle when they see an ad,” said Greg Gordon, senior VP consumer marketing for the insurer, whose measured media spending on auto has jumped from $35 million in 2009 to nearly $50 million through November 2010, according to Kantar. Schultz is the Chicago Bureau Chief at Ad Age and covers beverage, automotive and sports marketing. He is a former reporter for McClatchy newspapers, including the Fresno Bee, where he covered business and state government and politics, and the Island Packet in South Carolina. Neal Awards, the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, the California Newspaper Publishers Association, the South Carolina Press Association and Investigative Reporters and Editors. A native of Cincinnati,
Schultz has an economics degree from Xavier University and a masters in journalism from Northwestern University.