Laugh Insurance

TSTIf you are a regular reader here on Older Eyes – Bud’s Blog you know that periodically I wax curmudgeonly over TV commercials.  Occasionally, after a particularly dumb ad, I’ll turn to my wife, Muri, and say, I can’t believe they actually paid someone to write this crap.  But pay they do, to the tune of 36 Billion dollars for TV  advertising in the first half of 2013.  That’s Billion with a B.  I also frequently wonder whether advertising actually works … I can’t think of a single time that memories of a commercial influenced my purchases.  In fact, I’ve been inclined not to buy products whose advertisements I found annoying or stupid (At this point my grandkids would say, You said a bad word, Papa. You’re not supposed to say stupid.  And I’d say, OK.  But they don’t read my blog, so stupid it is).   According to an article in The Atlantic by Nigel Hollis, I’m wrong about advertising … it does affect me.  And that’s what I want to talk about here on Top Sites Tuesday #226 – Two Thoughts on Tuesday.

In Why Good Advertising Works (Even When You Think It Doesn’t), Hollis says that Successful advertising rarely succeeds through argument or calls to action. Instead, it creates positive memories and feelings that influence our behavior over time to encourage us to buy something at a later date.   He cites ten commercials that he says do a good job of connecting the dots between a brand name and a positive impression and concludes with this: You may not think advertising influences you. But marketers do. And in addition to millions of dollars, they have something else most people don’t have: Access to data that proves their point.  Interestingly, he presents no such data.  And … interestingly … Mr. Hollis is a marketer.  Would any good marketer write an article for The Atlantic titled, Why Even Good Advertising Doesn’t Work (Even When Marketers Think It Does?).  From the point of view of The Consumerist, a study reported in the New York Times says that in spite of millions spent on advertising for auto insurance, fewer drivers are deciding to take the plunge and go elsewhere.   And the insurance industry blog, Consumer Insurance Guide, suggests that because satisfaction with auto insurance companies is at an all time high, Fewer drivers are shopping around for auto insurance but when they do they’re more likely to switch to a new company.   Thought Number One is this:  I guess the so-called facts depend on the point of view.  Isn’t that too often the problem with reporting these days?  Too much point of view and not enough facts?

Personally, I find auto insurance commercials among the most creative I see on TV, in spite of the fact that I haven’t clue why Progressive’s Flo is soinsurance girl popular, especially now that she’s singing.  Why do some guys think she’s hot?  Why does she dress like that?  Does she do hair between insurance customers?   Geico’s snooty Gecko certainly provides immediate brand recognition but he seems to think he’s better than everyone else.  Maybe it’s that phony maxwellaccent.  I’m not fond of pigs, either, but when an airline stewardess tells Maxwell that she’ll believe him When pigs fly … and he turns to his African American seatmate and says, I can’t believe she said that, I laugh every time.  How can you not laugh at the first television inter-species slur. But this guy, I love:

The edgiest of the auto insurance commercials are the Mayhem is Coming series from Allstate.   Dean Winters plays the part of impending mayhem in the form of an attractive female jogger, a Christmas tree about to fly off the roof and an inattentive teenage son, destroying the house as he mows the lawn.  But I like him best as a fully dressed streaker:

My favorite, though is Liberty Mutual’s gentle commentary on the foibles of being human, set the the Human League’s 1980s hit, Human.  Hysterical.

So, who do you think is my auto insurer?  American International, who, as far as I know, doesn’t even have TV commercials.  And I have no intention of changing.  Thought Number TwoI rest my case Mr. Hollis.

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9 Comments on “Laugh Insurance”

  1. My car insurance company doesn’t advertise, either. Sometimes I don’t even GET the commercials…. guess I am getting old.

  2. cherperz Says:

    I do tend to buy certain categories of products due to advertising. Makeup that promises to make me look years younger, food if the commercial makes something like soup seem better than home made, and once-in-a-while, I am a sucker for an infomercial….the most recent being a hair styling product. BUT things like car insurance, I am a comparer of premiums, coverage etc. I am a researcher when it comes to anything related to finances.

    With that being said, I LOVE the hump day commercial. I think that is truly funny. Flo annoys me, but the Geico gecko doesn’t bother me and I laugh at the pig on the plane as well.

    Doesn’t matter really, if I love or hate these commercials because that wouldn’t entice me or repel me to use their product.

    I am confused as to why Mr. Hollis, a marketer, wrote an article “Why Even Good Advertising Doesn’t Work (Even When Marketers Think It Does?)” I must be missing something. He is affirming that his industry is ineffectual?


  3. Wolfbernz Says:

    The only time I’m inclined to shop insurance companies is when my renewal comes in. I often threaten to call Flo and the Gecko, but I never do. I’m not sure that a commercial would convince me to shop around though…


  4. Trina Says:

    Marketing does work a little, every time you see a frog you may think Budweiser, you remember the name, but annoying frogs never made me want to buy a beer.

    The Mayhem commercials are great, I’ve seen a few here and there and enjoyed them all. You do make a good point, the best commercials right now are from insurance companies.

    Great thoughts!

  5. Any time you can identify a jingle, a font or a mood/feeling from a commercial, you prove that advertising works. Like it or lump it…or hump it, courtesy of my current favorite, the hump day camel. (Though I don’t like it when that commercial airs on not-Wednesdays. Apparently I believe talking camels on television as to what day it is.)

    My insurance company does have commercials, but that’s not why I’m with them. I’m with them because they’re a good price with an actual human agent (unlike Flo’s company).

    • oldereyes Says:

      I would say that a commercial works when I respond to that memory or good feeling by buying the product that’s being advertised. For all but one of the insurance commercials I mentioned, Ihad to go to YouTube to find out who the advertiser was, so I’d contend they didn’t work for me. Ironically, the one I did remember was that Flo is Progressive and she fits into the “I won’t buy because I hate the commercial” category. You see, you’re not accounting for the curmudgeon factor.

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