Home > TV > Insurance ad wars – part 2

Insurance ad wars – part 2

Well, gang, with the Super Bowl tomorrow, the ad world is abuzz with the upcoming vignettes of consumerism. And, my treatise on insurance ads is still only half done.  The first part is here.  Let’s get to the rest of them that confuse/annoy me.

Progressive “Flo” Ads – A super-perky insurance sales, named Flo, lady peddles her wares in an ethereal retail outlet.

  • The gimmick: Flo, played by Stephanie Courtney, started out in 2008 at the helm of Progressive’s campaigns.  The conceit is that Flo is there to expound on the great attributes of Progressive in a retail environment, even though Progressive is an online/direct-to-consumer insurance firm. Puts a face on a rather virtual organization where you won’t have a local agent, typically.
  • The highpoint: I’m hard-pressed to come up with one specific ad that just blows me away.  I do know that Progressive’s headquarters is a virtual shrine to Flo. So, that’s a pretty solid outcome for an ad campaign right there.
  • The lowpoint: Similar to the above, I’m stumped to recall an ad that completely flopped.  I thought this campaign was out of juice a couple of years ago, but they revitalized it with new characters and new situations. Again, nothing too great or too awful. Just solid commercials.
  • Effectiveness: 7 out of 10. While I don’t think they’ve hit home runs, they hit a lot of singles and doubles. For effectiveness, I can definitely say that I know that Progressive allows you to compare your prices to other firms’ prices and that they have motorcycle and other firms of vehicle insurance. Whether that’s from solid messaging or sheer repetition, I have no clue.

State Farm campaign 1 – “Magic jingle” ad – If something comes up that requires an insurance agent, just sing the “Like a good neighbor/State Farm is there” jingle. Your agent will appear and grant you wishes.

  • The gimmick – Probably the one that seems like a good campaign at first, but after repeated viewing, my brain keeps turning this one over. Do I really look for my insurance agent to be a genie in a bottle? Am I comfortable thinking of my insurance agent as a magical genie?  However, since this appears to be aimed at the 18-35 demographic (and I’m, sadly, over that line), maybe I’m not the right audience.
  • The highpoint – I think the strongest of these ads is probably the one where the guy backs into another car, and his girlfriend is just giving him holy hell.  He summons his agent, then she turns him into a hunk, then he turns her into a hottie.  What this has to do with insurance coverage… no clue.
  • The lowpoint – What’s really driving me crazy about any of these ads is the placement of a rather mundane job – an insurance claim agent – into average situations, but giving these agents supernatural powers. And some of the stuff these jackasses are asking for?  Weird.  One State Farm client in their douche-bag 20s requests Bob Barker (who appears to be mostly animatronic at this stage) who shows up and give him a brand new car. Also, in the example in the above highpoint, there is a lowpoint underneath. Why does the woman get all pissed off at the guy for turning her into a hottie, when she did the EXACT same thing? Now, I’m thinking of this philosophical conundrum, and I could give a rat’s ass what State Farm is trying to say.
  • Effectiveness: 5 out of 10. Even though they’re memorable, I think this is one of those campaigns where State Farm is trying too hard to reach the young demographics.

State Farm campaign 2 – “Ask your neighbor” ad – A 30-something guy talks rather plainly about the benefits of State Farm, particularly against the Progressive’s and Geico’s of the world.

  • The gimmick – Not much of a gimmick here.  This is essentially the Dennis Haysbert Allstate ads all over again, save for the fact that we don’t know who the young-ish spokesman is.
  • The highpoint – Not really coming up with one here, either. The ads are pretty straightforward.
  • The lowpoint – Well, one could say that having no highpoint is a lowpoint in and of itself. For some reason, I’m annoyed by the one where Handsome Guy is standing next to a State Farm agent who continually interrupts him. She’s very perky, but why not let her do the damn ad?
  • Effectiveness: 4 out of 10. I don’t really pay much attention to these. I guess what we’re learning here is that insurance ads need a little gimmick, but not too much. And since they’re running two separate, distinct campaigns, State Farm has inadvertently caused me to believe that it’s actually two companies. In fact, I had to fire up Google to confirm that they were the same company, just because I thought I might be confusing one campaign with Farm Bureau.

So, that’s it. I’m sure there are other insurance ads to take to task, but this is all I could think of for now.  We’ll have to see what shenanigans the insurance companies have in store for us tomorrow.



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