If you don't know the jingle for Farmers Insurance, you've probably at least seen the latest TV campaign that shares tips for avoiding things like a grease fire. The insurer of more than 10 million U.S. households has now extended "It's Smarter to Have a Plan" campaign to the digital arena with a series of 15- and 6-second videos.
No two videos from the company's "15 Seconds of Smart" digital campaign look the same. Farmers' agency of record, RPA, created the series in various styles and techniques, ranging from live action and simple animation to stop motion and even a couple throwbacks to old Kung Fu movies and public service announcements from the '80s.
"We're really trying to build brand consideration," Jenny Howell, Farmers' director of advertising, tells ClickZ. "One of the challenges with insurance is obviously it's a really competitive category and people are spending a lot of money in advertising. Gaining awareness is key, but then what seems to be even more important is translating that awareness to consideration. Having these types of videos, this type of content which can enhance our brand personality, is really important to maximizing our awareness to consideration."
The insurance- and safety-related tips are being splashed across mobile, tablet, and desktop screens via search and in-video ads on YouTube, alongside a smaller series of Vines, and sponsored articles on BuzzFeed.
"We wanted to bring to life the same kinds of tips and facts that we've been using in TV and radio, and also in some of our display ads, and bring them to life in other ways," says Pat Mendelson, SVP and group creative director at RPA. "It didn't feel like when you've seen one you've seen them all, so there's always a surprise in the way we presented the ideas. We wanted for each one to be fresh in its own way, but to have the same overall tone."
Farmers Insurance has deliberately taken a different path than its competitors on the messaging front, and that continues with the short new videos that Howell calls a nice match for short attention spans online.
"These are preventative tips, most of them," explains Mendelson. "It's a different tone, it's a different way to go than our competitors who are either talking price or kind of 'oh no, this can happen to you.' We're trying to help people prevent problems."
Of course the insurance company still wants customers to know that its agents will be there when they need them most, but it also wants to "help people avoid getting into problems where they need to use their insurance" in the first place, Howell says.
"A lot of our competitors in digital are purely doing a price message, and so I think it's to build consideration by communicating in a different way and a more engaging way," adds Mendelson.
"Insurance in general is often a TV battle. The category itself is so focused on television, because it is a category where your consumers aren't really engaged with your products so you have to force the message," says Howell.
"We think digital is really critical, especially when you are trying to make consumers more familiar with your brand and what you stand for," she continues. "There's such an opportunity in digital to do that in a different way, and get consumers to be more engaged with your content and spend more time with your content than you can when you're pushing out a 30-second TV spot."
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Matt Kapko has been writing about mobile since 2006, before it became cool. Based in Long Beach, CA, he has covered mobile entertainment, digital media, marketing, and advertising for several business media outlets. A former editor and reporter for RCR Wireless News, paidContent, and iMedia Connection, Matt is a regular freelance reporter for ClickZ. You can follow Matt on Twitter at @MattKapko or drop him a line at email@example.com.
March 19, 2014