Showing posts from February, 2010

Insurance Marketing: Morbidity Begone!

From Ad Age, a good story about Lisa Bacus, CMO of American Family Insurance and how she's remaking the company's image with a really sound media and creative strategy:

Like many advertising categories, insurance marketing was heavy on tactics and price-driven deals but short on branding in 2009. That's where Lisa Bacus, VP-marketing for American Family Insurance, saw an opportunity -- to tell brand-driven stories while her competitors, such as State Farm and Allstate, were driving home the literal value of their packages.

Beginning in fall 2009, the insurance marketer and its media agency, Mindshare Entertainment, embarked on its first branded-entertainment strategy, encompassing several integrated entertainment programs with multiple media partners. The first, focused on agent interaction, was led by "In Gayle We Trust," a branded web series for (written by Brent Forrester of "The Office") featuring a fictional American Family Insurance agent (G…

The Awesome Narrative Goes Viral

From John Tierney, writing in the NY Times today about which stories in that newspaper get emailed the most:

The results are surprising — well, to me, anyway. I would have hypothesized that there are two basic strategies for making the most-e-mailed list. One, which I’ve happily employed, is to write anything about sex. The other, which I’m still working on, is to write an article headlined: “How Your Pet’s Diet Threatens Your Marriage, and Why It’s Bush’s Fault.” 

Surprising articles, like one about free-range chickens on the streets of New York, were also more likely to be e-mailed — which was a hardly a surprising discovery, of course. But the researchers also kept finding popular articles with a quality that went beyond surprise.

“If I went into my classroom dressed up like a pirate, that would be surprising, but it wouldn’t be awe-inspiring,” Dr. Berger said. “An article about square watermelons is surprising, but it doesn’t inspire that awed feeling that the world is a broad place …

Is There Some Madness Come to Method?

The new campaign for Method, the San Francisco-based soap company, is taking the David vs. Goliath approach, targeting Procter & Gamble's Tide brand, the market leader. From the NY Times:

The campaign, now under way, takes the cheeky tone typical of Method’s marketing by mocking mainstream products as feeding a household’s heinous “jug” habit — jugs being the large, handled bottles that rival brands use rather than the small pump bottles of Method.
“Say no to jugs,” the headlines of print and online ads declare. Other ads proclaim that Method stands “for a jug-free America.”
And the following is a sequence of online banner ads: “Are you a jug addict? Frequently overdosing? Heavy and bloated? We can help. Get off the jugs and get clean.”
The campaign, by Droga5 in New York, can also be seen on a microsite, or special Web site,

Method has become a popular hand soap brand through the combination of attractive packaging and subtle product attributes (color, fragranc…

Jay Rosen of NYU: iPad is "Magical Thinking" for Old Media

Very engaging interview with NYU Journalism Professor Jay Rosen by the Economist.

He considers the buzz within the media industry regarding the iPad to be an example of "Magical Thinking" by media companies, where their business models are broken and they're looking for a new device, some new technology, ANYTHING that can save them.

He notes that the two most valuable assets of big media companies such as the New York Times are their brand and their readers, and that in the coming iPad era, finding ways to leverage the value of those two key items will be most important to their survival, not sitting and hoping that a single device will save them.

I concur, except that I see the iPad as a platform through which these media companies can find new ways to leverage those assets, if they're willing to engage in a little innovative thinking.

It's clear to me that even if it can't save the most stubborn print media, the iPad will certainly be a significant boon for…

Progressive Insurance Leverages Social Media and Narcissism

In one of the most entertaining campaigns in the consumer insurance at the moment, Progressive is looking for an assistant to Flo, the good-humored and hardworking spokesperson for the consumer insurer.

Do you have what it takes? A quick review of the competition, through the videos they've submitted, shows that while 99.9% are less charming and articulate than Dick Cheney, more than couple would be hard to beat with their self-avowed zest and zeal for insurance and unique approaches...

Now, there seem to be an inordinate number of auditions from New York. Read into that what you will.

Go to Hell on Your Own Time!

From AdWeek:

For the last nine months, Electronic Arts has been promoting the upcoming videogame release Dante's Inferno, based on Dante's first book of The Divine Comedy, with a campaign from Wieden + Kennedy telling gamers to "Go to hell." On the Super Bowl, an EA spot will instead inform viewers that "Hell awaits." 

I really get my hackles up when Victorian morals intrude on modern-day advertising, by gum. And gosh dingy-dang it all, not only is it a whole lot less FUN, but from a business standpoint, that lame-o squeaky-clean replacement tagline will probably sell a whole heckuva lot less product, too.

Jiminy Christmas, can't those Puritans just relax and let us have a good time, for once? Sufferin' succotash!

Ready to Stop Being Miserable? Marketers Sure Hope You Are

From an article in Advertising Age today:

Though there's still widespread disagreement of just when the industry will put the recession firmly behind it, one thing's clear: Whenever it happens, marketers had better be ready. Forward thinkers such as Allstate, Walmart, New Balance, Macy's, Procter & Gamble, McDonald's and Bank of America are already paving the way to recovery by spending on marketing and product innovation, cementing relationships with new consumers and rewarding loyalists who stuck by their brands during the bad times. They are also creating products and messaging that bridge from recession to recovery.

So, too, has Allstate, which is on the air with a spot, "The Great Recovery," which refers to the recession in past tense by asking viewers how they'll look back on it. "People are ready to stop being miserable," said CMO Mark LaNeve. He said the company is anticipating that consumers will be re-evaluating their finances and th…