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 (Gayle, played by Elisa Donovan) as its main character. A micrositefeaturing tips from finance expert Liz Weston supplemented the web series, as well as a radio tie-in with CBS Radio -- a promotion called "The Family You Choose," where listeners could thank their insurance agents as members of their "extended family."

Later in 2009, American Family Insurance teamed up with MTVU and its signature Woodie Awards for a five-part sponsored docuseries, "The Road to the Woodies," in which a real teenage driver develops her maneuverability using American Family Insurance's proprietary Teen Safe Driver Program.
Hopefully, the days of (say it with grave dignity) "Care for Those Whom You Love, Even When Life's Unpredictabilities Take You Forever Far Away From Them" -style marketing is gone forever from insurance advertising. Risk management is a part of everyday life, so why shouldn't insurance be marketed as such?

This CMO gets it.


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