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In Focus: Advertising


From cavemen to butterflies to rehabbing rabbits, insurance industry advertisers take a variety of routes as they look to connect with buyers, establish brand identity and set themselves apart from the competition. Some approaches are comical and some are serious, but all focus on driving home the message behind the commercials. Here's a look at a number of different approaches industry companies are taking to get their message to the marketplace.



CREATIVE: Martin Agency, Richmond, Va.


WHY IT WORKS: As part of a multiple story line approach GEICO uses to reach the broad demographic to which it advertises, "essentially anyone who drives a car," according to Ted Ward, the insurer's vp of marketing, the Caveman campaign's theme of "So easy a caveman could do it!" provides a constant reminder of the ease of using in a humorous and memorable fashion. "Almost all our advertising, however, is tied together with the same call to action that we've been using for nearly 14 years: '15 minutes could save you 15% or more on your car insurance,'" Mr. Ward said.


Travelers Cos. Inc.

CREATIVE: Fallon Worldwide, Minneapolis

LAUNCHED: April 30

WHY IT WORKS: One of two new television spots that started airing this spring--the other being "Risk"--"Luck" shows "how the right insurance is far superior to the silly superstition of a lucky rabbit's foot," according to Shane Boyd, vp, corporate communications, at Travelers. With Travelers having recently regained its iconic umbrella logo from Citigroup, the spots use humor to continue to push Travelers' theme of the need to keep insurance in "synch" as risks change. In "Luck," the benefits of proper insurance also extend to rabbits reunited with the feet no longer needed as lucky charms.


American International Group Inc.


LAUNCHED: December 2006

WHY IT WORKS: AIG's "Butterflies" commercial, which first aired in December, along with spots that followed in May as part of the campaign, depict children with heightened concerns about financial affairs, concerns that are eased by a parent telling them they're with the AIG companies. Martin J. Sullivan, AIG chairman and chief executive officer, explained the strategy at the company's shareholders meeting in May. "To date, much of our advertising has been intended simply to increase our name recognition in the marketplace," he said. "Now, we're structuring messages to give customers a better idea of the things we do."


Trusted Choice

CREATIVE: In-house by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America


WHY IT WORKS: Produced in-house with assistance from video production vendor Carden Communications, which shot and edited the spot, the commercial uses scenes of life events to make the point that insurance needs change as life changes. "We were trying to communicate that when life changes, you need to contact your insurance agent and work with someone you can trust," said Susan Nester, broadcast media director at the IIABA who produced and directed the ad, which received a Gold Award in the insurance category at the annual Aurora Awards for excellence in the film and video industries.


Hartford Financial Services Group Inc.

CREATIVE: Campbell Mithun, Minneapolis

LAUNCHED: 2005, repeated in 2006 and 2007

WHY IT WORKS: Hartford's corporate partnership with the National Collegiate Athletic Assn. and its advertisements during the NCAA men's basketball tournament fit the company's effort to support financial professionals and their Baby Boomer customers approaching retirement age. "Trophies" features legendary college basketball coach John Wooden talking about trust and the Hartford stag appearing as a symbol of respect and trust. Presenting an image of Hartford as a trustworthy leader in the mutual fund business, the spot also suggests that the company's "team" is there for consumers.