Insurance TV Advertising – a different approach

Thanks for all of comments on last weeks blog;  the NFU Mutual ad and the voiceover certainly attracted some interest.  The consensus of opinion is that it is beautifully voiced by David Thewlis.  It’s a great ad, doing a good job of reinforcing the NFU Mutual brand values, and I would guess widening their appeal.  The quote below (from NFU) sums up the ad and their values nicely:

NFU Mutual values are what set us apart – we believe in Trust, Customer Focus, Value for Money, Quality, Prudence

My sense is that they need to make a call over the consistency of messaging though … the website has a mixture of old brand statements alongside new ones.  I appreciate the new ad is a campaign and integration is costly, but I think the website weakens the impact and feel generated by the TV ad once you are off the home page.

Interestingly another ‘Insurance Brand’ – Hastings Direct – is back on TV in March ’13.  The contrast could not be more stark;  when I saw the first ad in this series I recognised a strong insight (after all the reason we have insurance is to protect the things we treasure and the real moment of truth comes when a claim has to be made).  So creatively the no fuss, “we clean it up” message comes across.  The attempt at humour at the end looks dangerously like an in joke for the marketing team though.  But I really did not like the advert at all.

But, being fair-minded, I thought I would check it out again and I found a second ad in the series that is much more interesting;

This ad is much stronger and plays out a message that is very important in building empathy with customers.  Like the first ad it is squarely aimed at a direct response audience and you can see what Hastings are trying to do:

  • Introduce the saving you can make by switching to Hastings
  • To build credibility for differing audiences by showing the typical savings for 51%, 25% and 10% of people
  • To show themselves as true consumer champions by showing all three and implying that Insurers that do not are not doing the right thing – the voiceover is strong here
  • They almost show a choice of prices, I appreciate this is not actually the case, but it leans towards talking to an audience very used to seeing more than one price on the price comparison websites – this aspect, intentional or not is quite clever
  • The call to action is typically Hastings and they are yet again going for a little humour, arguably more successfully than in the first ad I saw.

The art direction is interesting too – I like the stillness in the end frames and I like that the statue of ‘Harry Hastings’ is not animated.  It covers off the usual, annoying, insurance tendency towards cuddly creatures, but I will let that pass.  The insight resonates with me 100% – from my own experience I know consumers see Insurance and Insurers as a ‘necessary evil’ and they are fed up with rising prices at renewal, it’s no wonder they shop around.

So what values are Hastings trying to fit to with this, in their words, “refreshingly straightforward” campaign?

Hastings say they want to be easy to talk to, know their stuff, be open and honest and believe in good old-fashioned customer service.  Not perhaps as grandiose as NFU Mutual, but this will resonate with a target audience seeking to respond to price based messaging I think. The ads do a good job of measuring up to this ambition in my view.   The ad, in direct response airtime, does look a little different (but only a little) and it does benefit from a memorable phone number.

The ads are simple and the business seems to be growing… time will tell if this campaign helps, but I think that Antidote, the creative agency who developed the ad, have crafted one strongish ad and another that misses the mark a little by comparison, but, each, with minimal legal copy, are clean and bright.  It’ll be interesting to see how long they air as that is usually the litmus test of direct response TV success or failure.

Comments, as always, greatly appreciated


17 March 2013

Useful Links:

Campaign Live article

Antidote website   Love your home page by the way guys !

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