OAI: During Olympics, Auto Insurance Ads Take Serious Turn

July 30, 2012 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
Nationwide and Liberty Mutual have been debuting new advertising campaigns during the 2012 London Summer Olympics that feature celebrity voiceovers, signaling a shift in the high-stakes race between insurers to grab consumers' attention, according to Online Auto Insurance.

And instead of focusing on whether or not they are the cheapest auto insurance company or have the funniest mascot, the two insurers are going for a more serious approach that emphasizes reliability and relatability.

Nationwide's "Join the Nation" campaign, featuring voiceovers by Academy Award–winner Julia Roberts, kicked off on Friday during the games' opening ceremonies. The insurer had previously used "Nationwide is on your side" as an advertising tune and tagline, but the latest campaign will shed light on "who we are as a company," according to Matt Jauchius, Nationwide's chief marketing executive.

"This is our invitation for consumers to 'join the nation' and experience all the benefits that go along with being a member of Nationwide," he said in a statement.

On Saturday during the Olympics, Liberty Mutual debuted its "Humans" campaign with 30- and 60-second television spots showcasing short stories about "everyday moments when people show their imperfections." Voiceovers for those spots feature Paul Giamatti, an Academy Award–nominated actor, according to a statement from the insurer.

The 60-second spot closes with Giamatti commenting: "That's the funny thing about humans. When things are at their worst, we are at our best."

Nationwide's shift from its marketing jingle, and Liberty Mutual's move toward a relatable tone, may mark a sea change in advertising throughout the auto insurance industry.

Handfuls of advertisements from insurers employed humorous approaches with catchy slogans and kitschy characters, according to a report from J.D. Power and Associates. From Allstate's Mayhem to GEICO's gecko to Progressive's Flo to State Farm's Magic Jingle, the nation's top four insurers poured $2.6 billion into advertising their offerings.

Using humor as an advertising tactic has been prevalent for the past three years, according to the 2011 report.

Last month, SafeAuto hired comedian Norm MacDonald as their pitchman in several commercials.

But with their latest campaigns, Nationwide and Liberty Mutual want to distinguish themselves from the current lot of insurers that bank their image on laughs.

"In a highly competitive personal insurance marketplace it is important to promote our differentiating attributes, characterized by our empathy towards policyholders in times when they need us," Jim MacPhee, a Liberty Mutual marketing executive, said in a statement.

"Join the Nation" seeks to connect with the customer while building on Nationwide's previous marketing strategy, according to Jauchius.

"Nationwide is On Your Side is a familiar tagline and jingle, but not many people understand exactly what it means," he said.

For more on this and related issues, head to http://www.onlineautoinsurance.com/cheap/companies/ for access to an easy-to-use quote-comparison generator and informative resource pages.