Posts Tagged ‘print advertising’
While I follow the insurance direct marketing industry, I can’t help but feel a little envious of what I’m seeing on television. At least in the Chicago area, where I sit between the two largest auto insurers Allstate and State Farm, I seem to be seeing more auto insurance commercials.
Earlier this year, Advertising Age reported that in 2009, GEICO out-spent the next highest auto insurance advertiser, Progressive, by more than 60 percent. Both State Farm and Allstate, who spend on parity with each other, spent less than half that of GEICO.
Progressive’s concept of an insurance company as a consumer package goods superstore is continuing with Pickles, the dog, teaming up with Flo to provide a comparative quote. You can’t go wrong featuring a cute animal. Flo is now playing second banana and providing a voiceover as the commercials end with a shot of Pickles in charge.
The Gecko has a long history with GEICO and his new commercials take advantage of his steady development as a spokesperson. No longer is he casually talking about pie and chips to a real gecko, as he did in one of his first commercials. Now he is talking in front of conference audiences with all the giveaways branded in his likeness. Like Progressive’s Flo, GEICO is capitalizing on a developed brand image.
Still working to develop an image, Esurance seems to have placed secret agent Erin into deep cover as they now use a small group of dedicated employees who talk about their interactions with Esurance customers. Whether it’s The Saver or the Coverage Counselor, this cast of spokespersons grabs attention by playing out short stories on the experiences of being an Esurance customer.
Both of today’s leading auto insurers stick with the real life spokesperson format. Together, State Farm and Allstate challenge Progressive and GEICO’s messages of saving money and fast quotes.
State Farm has developed its spokesman into the customer’s friend who reminds them to check whether their friends and family are one of 40 million State Farm customers. Then he one-ups the competition by telling the audience that State Farm is larger than Progressive and GEICO combined.
Similarly, Allstate continues to rely on Denis Haysbert as the spokesperson for most of their commercials. In a new campaign he supports Dean Winters, portraying Mayhem, in a series depicting causes of accidents. Allstate, like State Farm, challenges GEICO’s message by asking if a fifteen minute call could provide the service you get from your personal agent.
It’s clear that these five companies are spending a lot on the development of new brand images. Apparently the money is coming from their print advertising since Adweek recently reported that the auto insurance industry reduced its print spending by 26 percent in 2009. Some of that decrease may include direct mail, which Comperemedia reports as having decreased five percent last year from 2008.
These five companies can be split into two groups when it comes to direct mail strategy. Both Progressive and Esurance have nearly stopped mailing. Of the others, GEICO is still the largest mailer, not segmenting who receives a solicitation, while Allstate and State Farm maintain strong mail levels and utilize their agents to guide the segments on address labels.
When I look at auto insurance direct mail, I’m surprised how different the pieces are from the companies’ commercials. There’s a dysfunctional integrated marketing strategy, a direct marketing channel disconnect. The images these companies are investing in and creating on television are not being leveraged in their direct mail solicitations.
I would think it would be an advantage to incorporate the TV brand images into mail campaigns as a reminder of the company’s brand values. After all, the advantage of advertising is it builds the brand through repetition of a message.
Seeing potential in Canadian market, American Express’s marketing campaigns evolve and integrate
In October, American Express launched a multi-million dollar “Realize the Potential” campaign in Canada. This move is significant as it represents the first major brand advertising from American Express in Canada in almost a year. Developed by OgilvyOne Worldwide, the advertising campaign promised an integrated effort across multiple marketing channels.
Initial print advertisements were captured by Mintel Comperemedia in October. Running through February of this year, the ads take a playful tone to appeal to a younger demographic than is traditionally associated with American Express. Print ads in The Globe and Mail use color on a black background for impact and cleverly spell out the name “Daniel” in numbers. The ad states that “we see you as a person, not a number.” A link is provided for more information about the campaign: www.americanexpress.ca/potential.
Now in 2010, we’re seeing new print advertising. An ad in the National Post simply states “Be a traveler, not a tourist,” as American Express demonstrates that it is more than just a payments card. To create additional impact, ads have also been published in non-traditional shapes and sizes. One seen in February in the Toronto Star is L-shaped and playfully states “Come fly with me…or me! or me!” to demonstrate the flexibility of the Membership Rewards Program given that you can use rewards to fly on any airline.
The print advertisements and digital campaign are now being integrated with direct mail. In February, direct mail offers for the American Express Platinum Card included the “Realize the Potential” tagline, while statement mailings took the same blithe tone as the print advertisements to describe how easy it is to turn points into rewards.
Just last week American Express announced a new Canadian campaign to promote card acceptance at popular merchants such as fast food outlets and drug stores. Combined with an increase in mail volume, these efforts show that American Express is clearly committed to investment in the Canadian credit card market.