Friday, November 15, 2013

Marketing Breathes LIFE into Insurance…but HOW?!

Lately it seems like every other commercial is for insurance.

Sounds boring in theory, doesn’t it? Insurance, ICK – who even wants to buy it?

And yet, not ick.

Seriously, is anyone else amazed at how all these managers of risk have been able to differentiate themselves? A marketer of services by day, I constantly struggle to position our intangible, otherwise homogeneous solutions against a myriad of competitors.


All State

Mayhem is everywhere
, are you in good hands?

If ‘Mayhem’ were human, we’re pretty sure it’d go by the name of Dean Winters. Grizzly but suave, stern, and rough around the edges, Winters helped All State take the tangibility of freak accidents one step further, anthropomorphic!
Explosions of smoke and fire, homes and vehicles in shambles – each spot, its own action-packed mini feature. Grab your popcorn.

Farmers Insurance

“We are Farmers. Bum-ba-bu-bum-bum bum-bum-bum!”

7 dwarfs be proud! It’s a modern day “Heigh-ho” with twice the power to get stuck-in-your-head.
The spots are simple, stripped-down “did you know?” info-tainment. With their calm, collected, and totally sweet professor front man, they're nonsensical enough to elicit a laugh or two.


Arguably best in the biz (insurance or otherwise), is there a character Geico can’t make into a star?

The Gecko might headline, but Geico’s got a whole cast of characters equally capable of stealing the show (heck, the Cavemen even got their own sitcom on ABC).

There’s Maxwell the pig – first introduced in the Rhetorical Question series (turns out the little piggy does cry 'wee wee wee' all the way home).

There’s the happiest-on-hump-day camel – from Geico’s bluegrass pickers Ronny and Jimmy’s “Get Happy” campaign.

There’s a male owl that just can’t seem to commit his female counterpart’s friend Megan to memory in the “Did You Know?” campaign. (“Hoo?” “Megan! Seriously, you’ve met her like five times.” …Hoo?)
There’s NOTHING Geico can’t make work – even with a near $1B annual ad spend, money WELL spent.

Liberty Mutual

Responsibility: What’s Your Policy?

The ‘humans’ campaign is all about relateability.  Think you’ve made some pretty stupid mistakes? The subjects in these spots have one on you.
Played out over the smooth sounds of Human Leagues’ song by the same name, these scenarios are ones you could actually see yourself or “that friend” doing.


Nationwide is on YOUR side…

They put members first, because they don’t have shareholders. Ooh – ok, another jab at the perceived pitfalls of doing biz with big biz.  We ARE the 1%! Rage against the machine! Etc...
Their “Brand New Belongings” spot makes getting burgled seem more glamorous than Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and their latest “#meetmybaby” campaign is SPOT. ON. for the auto-obsessed.


Now THAT’S Progressive.

Now I’m not the biggest fan of Flo (Progressive’s always happy-to-help insurance clerk), but Ad Age’s 2012 “Top 10 female ad icons of all time” would seem to disagree. Flo loves insurance. She’s been tangibilizing the shopping experience since 2008 and with50+ commercials under her belt and a cool 5 million+ followers on facebook, Flo must be a middle name cuz’ this girl’s first is CASH (get it, Cash ‘Flo’)? :)
Queen of the Insurance Kingdom!

State Farm

Get to a better state.

Transforming the civilian, local agent into a personal super hero – all you need to do is sing the jingle; “like a good neighbor”…and State Farm is THERE!
…riding shotgun, assisting roadside, or even just helping you spend the money you saved by switching to State Farm.

The series builds brand from the personal appeal of a local agent who knows you by name. And with many competitors hell bent on pushing a centralized (read: virtual) agent model, it is refreshing to still see State Farm peppering the facade of brick and mortar – you almost believe your agent could be THIS COOL.

So there you have it. Seven companies touting the exact same (BASIC, BORING, DULL) wares – each, in their own effective way.

Some better than others, but all in ways far more thrilling than the actual products they sell.

Allow me to take my creative hat off and bow to thee, b2b service marketing masters! ::bows::

Which is your favorite?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Are we having 'FUN' yet, Hallmark?

Damned if you do and damned if you don't...

WAIT. Now that it’s November 1; can I talk about the holidays without an onslaught of verbal spars from my “IT'S TOO SOON” crew?

...Even still, don't.
The card slinger found itself in hot water this week for creative liberties taken with ‘Deck the Halls.’

Fun? FUN apparel?! It’s Christmas time and I want my apparel GAY!

What took so long, news media?

Seriously, a friend and I saw this ornament back in September, shook our heads at the blatant attempt to play it safe, turned and said to one another, “you KNOW there’s gonna be a shit-storm!”

Just when I thought they were in the clear BAM! It’s everywhere on social media.

So Hallmark spoke up, pointing out that the lyrics for "Deck the Halls" were translated from the Gaelic long ago and that the "gay" of the 1800s isn't the "gay" of 2013.  Such "multiple meanings," the company said in a statement, "could leave our intent open to misinterpretation."

Well excuse me, but today’s holly-jollies don’t use the terms “don” or “apparel” either. By that logic, let’s REALLY refresh the line for modern idioms:

Now we wear our festive clothes!

But that wouldn’t sell ornaments, now would it?

I don’t blame Hallmark.

All too often we hear stories of brands offending one group or another through omission, mixed meanings, or varied interpretation – and every time I ask myself “how could NO ONE have seen this coming? Seriously, NOT A SINGLE PERSON challenged this in the design phase?!”

Hallmark went to the other end of the spectrum, but in doing so, is being accused of the same – homophobia (through omission).

What’s offensive (and what’s not).

When people see something they don’t like and say “that’s gay” – THAT’S offensive. Because ‘gay’ is being substituted in negative connotation for ‘dumb’ or ‘stupid’.  But ‘gay’ for ‘fun’? I can live with being fun – and besides, IT’S STILL WHAT EVERYONE SINGS. Even little kids at the school Christmas program.

You want to sell a piece of holiday memorabilia but first you want to CHANGE everything that makes it authentic?! You are now marketing a typo.

If I were Hallmark…

And boy, don’t I wish I were! (Seriously, when I’m done working for the man, I’m opening up a small card and gift shop; it’s my favorite type of retail).

…I would have retooled the whole project.
The very first moment the lyric was brought up for discussion I would have scrapped words all together (it’s a sweater, it says apparel – get it? Cute, right? No – it’s weak anyways).

Instead, I’dve played up the garish embellishments. It’s a tacky sweater, right? Well then, let’s make it as tacky as possible! Ugly sweater parties are all the rage these days – people will buy it to commemorate parties both attended and thrown. And who knows? If the inventory flies from the shelves, it might be the start of a new annual “ugly sweater collection!” Each year, one tackier than before! Ones that light up and play music, the opportunity for product line extension would be ENDLESS.

…But no.

Instead, it’s a cheap resin footnote on the 2013 “Holiday DON’T” list.