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Marketing Study: 'Good Hands' Resonates Better Than Cavemen or Gecko
[May 18, 2007]

Marketing Study: 'Good Hands' Resonates Better Than Cavemen or Gecko

(Bestwire Service Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) BOSTON (BestWire) - Angry cavemen and a talking Gecko have garnered plenty of industry buzz, but those characters aren't resonating with consumers, according to a study released by Communications & Brand Analytics, a Phoenix Marketing International practice.

The AdPi study platform measured the advertising and brand differences of more than 15 major property/casualty insurers and the effect their ads have on consumers. It measures key advertisers and ads running during a given time frame by surveying more than 2,500 people each quarter, soliciting opinions on television, print and radio advertising by property/casualty insurers.

Allstate Insurance Corp. (NYSE:ALL), garnered the top four slots in the AdPi top 20 creative television ad list, which features actor Dennis Haysbert asking viewers, "Are You in Good Hands?" following automobile accident scenarios. The four top ads were titled "Operator," "Yellow Light," "Coffee Crash," and "City Crashes."

Lisa Cochrane, Allstate's vice president of marketing communications, said the use of emotion in ads creates drama and involvement for the potential policyholder, helping message retention. "You're almost better off with an emotional chord, rather than a rational chord. It's certainly a good affirmation of what we're trying to do and what our creative strategy is," Cochrane said. "With Allstate, we have the benefit of a very strong brand and an innovative product. Making consumers laugh is a great thing, but it doesn't necessarily sell product."

Allstate spent $327 million on advertising in 2006, according to Nielsen Media Research's AdViews.

The study revealed that some of the industry's biggest spenders did not receive high marks for their campaigns. Geico's "Personal Life," Gecko spot and "Real Customer, Movie Announcer," ads ranked 17th and 19th, respectively. None of Geico's cavemen spots cracked the top 20.

The largest insurance companies in the U.S. spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year to reach new customers and to reinforce to current customers they made the right decision," said Anne-Marie Doherty, executive vice president of CBA, in a statement. Some of the biggest spenders appear to be investing heavily on creative executions that are not connecting with consumers on any level. Media spending alone does not produce positive results. The ads that strike a chord, that are meaningful and cut through the category clutter, are the ads that are driving consumers to action.

Geico, a member of fourth-ranked Berkshire Hathaway Insurance Group (NYSE: BRK.A), spent $631 million on advertising in 2006, according to Chairman Warren Buffett's annual letter to shareholders, released March 1. "Today, Geico spends far more on ads than our competitors, even those much larger. We will continue to raise the bar," wrote Buffett (BestWire, March 8, 2007).

The cavemen may not be convincing people to purchase insurance, but they are entertaining on other levels. ABC said May 15 that it was picking up a pilot for a sitcom television show based on the Geico cavemen ads.

[Property/casualty] insurance is important to just about every citizen. The insurance industry has to reach these individuals, earn their trust, and get them to buy their products. If our clients messages are muddled, not getting through, or not trusted, they need to know immediately so they can change them to clearer, more credible ones," Doherty said.

A list of the top 20 property/casualty televisions ads ranked by highest creative AdPi score can be viewed at

(By Tom De Martini, associate editor, BestWeek:

Copyright 2007 A.M. Best Company Inc, Source: The Financial Times Limited

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