The insurance market.

“Insurance companies— get away from the gecko and Flo, and move into something real.”

Insurance rebranding. An Insurance Market Study.

insurance rebranding

The insurance industry follows the leader

Insurance rebranding started when ProAssurance, a medical liability insurance company came to us for help.

It is a category that perceived as dishonest.

Qualitative and quantitative research said physicians are driven by emotion, not worn-out insurance tactics. “Aggressive defense” was not l important or emotional. (See work we did for ProAssurance)

We created a position for ProAssurance meant to align the physicians’ desire to be treated fairly because physicians deal with issues of fairness every day.  And are enraged when they aren’t treated fairly.

For insurance rebranding we start with choices in the market. We could not find insurance brands with strong emotional drivers. The advertising is trite.  Themes center on extremes and, just the category benefits of being insured. Nobody gives a damn.

insurance rebranding

Mostly garbage

Insurance marketing is either silly or serious. All are only about lowering your costs or protection. Not switching triggers.

Insured doctors believe their current company has reasonable rates and good protection coverage. That why they picket them.

Nobody switches for things you already have.

We examine the marketing of the auto, health and homeowners insurance leaders.

Identifying those campaigns that have real emotional heart. And we will make fun of those idiots who are meaningless.

Auto Insurance

Brandchannel the “U.S. auto insurance brands spent $5.7 billion on marketing last year in the U.S., nearly double what they spent just five years earlier.

But they’re not getting as much bang for their buck as they did a couple of years ago.”

No Shit. Boy do these guys need insurance rebranding

Who wants to switch auto insurance companies? It is a pain in the ass to switch. You only switch it there is a problem (no matter who is to blame). Companies give consumers no REAL reason to choose.

What they spend is stupid. And they spend lots. That’s why the market has not moved despite all the advertising dollars.

Many of the market leaders like GEICO and Progressive, have only gained a tiny bit of market share. Despite constant frequency and promising the cheapest insurance.

They spend a ton of money

These companies spend millions of dollars on campaigns that are just not emotional. Entertainment can work if you have low awareness, but who doesn’t know GEICO or Progressive? And the spots aren’t all that entertaining.

Each stopped growing per this insurance market study. Both treading water with NO sign of growth.

Brandchannel the “U.S. auto insurance brands spent $5.7 billion on marketing last year in the U.S., nearly double what they spent just five years earlier.

But they’re not getting as much bang for their buck as they did a couple of years ago.”

Here’s why.


Matt Damon said in an episode of 30 Rock:

“Why does GEICO have three different spokesmen?” Damon asked the Tina Fey, the show’s leading lady.

Damon: “They have got the gecko, the caveman and the stack of money with the eyeballs.”

Fey: “And the fake Rod Serling guy.”

30 Rock has it right. What the hell is GEICO trying say?

Look at this



The Gallagher references are not emotional.  They are an inside joke for those old farts who remember his act.

15 minutes will save you money won’t get you to switch either.  All insurance companies say save you money.

Trying to make it funny isn’t emotional. Humor hides the message, even if it’s meaningful. All viewers remember is the humor.

Look at this.


GEICO is the king of bland messages.  A sucky search for market share.

It tries everything, but nothing works. GEICO doesn’t get what’s important.  Messages that are different and better than everyone else. Where is emotional hook that makes consumers care?

GEICO is not alone. Insurance rebranding needs more meaning than just 15% savings.


Like GEICO, Progressive tries to be funny.  It isn’t working. In needs a quick insurance rebranding.

GEICO would claim it uses so many characters to keep the ads fresh. Progressive’s character, Flo, is worn out. Who cares about her? It is an association but of no value.

Progressive has become GEICO-lite with the same message about cost in the hilarious Flo story.


Health Pro recently reported that: “Progressive has Flo. She is … not great at explaining why people might need insurance, but she is great at conveying the message that Progressive has the flexibility to meet customers’ needs.

My 9-year-old daughter looks for Flo commercials the way she looks for new episodes of iCarly. There might be some consumers who will have a warm place in their heart for Progressive in the 2070s, or even the 2100s, thanks to Flo.”

Quite an endorsement

Wow. A ringing endorsement.  What is it that Health Pro talking about? Flo represents the customer? (Or, in this case, the customer is a 9-year-old.). No wonder the category stinks.

Progressive has a unique stark white look. And no mistaking the ads for anyone else’s. But who would want to be them?

Like GEICO, they represent an ad agency masturbating. No idea how to steal market share.


Quoting, “Allstate [has] been stuck with the task of shaking the perception of being ‘expensive and serious.’ Allstate has tried to overcome this notion by launching its ‘Mayhem’ advertising campaign in May 2010 and by beefing up its marketing budget by more than half between 2009 and 2010.”

No insurance market study can ignore pricing. GEICO and Progressive capitalize on price. They oversaturate the market so the message doesn’t click. No emotion either.

Allstate, recognizes price as a loser’s game. They protection.


There are a few problems here. Edgy and unique with emotional fear. But “protection against mayhem” may plays only as humor. No one is scared. It’s a skit about someone else with a stupid character in the lead.

The results suck too. Its CEO resigned (instead of the board insisting on insurance rebranding) and its property-liability insurance premiums have been flat.

The theme of protection demonstrates that outside edgy and funny, not a reason to choose.


Insurance Rebranding. Health Insurance

“A healthcare organization’s brand,” according to Business Exchange, “is more critical than ever. This can mainly be attributed to the complex and highly competitive nature of the industry. Awareness with strong identity and messaging are a good start. But apart from basic marketing, successful branding goes a lot further. It must start from inside a healthcare organization’s core.”

But it’s not just a logo, marketing message and tone.

It is those things, but defines the company culture. So, the company fulfills the brand promise.

Economy Watch also reported: “Marketing health insurance is one of the most difficult jobs in insurance marketing. This is because of the perpetual conflict between the insurance companies which want to make a profit and the insured person who wants to get as much compensation as possible from the insurance company.”

What we are saying is it’s a balance, Market values that are more important to consumers than price. The affordable care act is demanding insurance rebranding in this category.

Blue Cross/Blue Shield


BCBS of Illinois has developed an advertising campaign that is both meaningful and memorable. F

Because it is about the customer (the home video footage of families that demonstrates who the customer of BCBS of Illinois is), not the company.

it’s a compelling soundtrack and unique delivery.

And it makes the  message confused.

The imagery thinks the switching trigger is taking care of family. That could be emotional but all it says BCBS of Illinois has been around a long time.

Nostalgic elements of the piece but who cares how long it has been around? What matters is what does it mean me.

The national campaign does better.

It is annoying, with the tricky vibe. But it describes who the customer is.  Active, happy, and a goofball.

The “health of us all” is a message that works for both the customer and the company. An emotional sense at its core.



Remember you NEED emotion. And emotion doesn’t have to be sappy. It’s stronger when it isn’t.

So the powerful Nike spots revolutionize shoes.

Groove with your body each is emotional. It supports the message Blue Cross/Blue Shield said, “you can improve your overall health, achieve a healthy weight and reduce your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other illnesses.”

Health First Insurance

Most health insurance marketing is done on the local level. Very poor productions.


Health First Insurance is not alone. The quality of production is important is because ads aren’t in a vacuum.

As a result things are confused, healthcare insurance prospects are usually businesses (workers rarely have a choice in health insurance).  They see glossy marketing materials and great TV ads alongside ones that have an infomercial feel to them.

This is the status quo. Take MyPriority, for example.


A small portion of commercials represent the entire market. Especially since the target audience (decision makers at businesses) are wrong.  Messages are bland and spots are cheaply produced.


Compared to Aflac, the local spots are simply drowned in the sea of high quality (and expensive) advertising. (Check out the rebranding work we did for an Aflac competitor American Fidelity)

Aflac, interesting.

That’s not how it was a decade ago, Aflac was a virtual unknown among consumers. In 2000, according to Aflac itself, was only recognized by 12% of the target audience. Today, that number has jumped to 90%.

The comic character in a comical situation (i.e., entertainment) only works as raising awareness, not increasing preference


Unlike GEICO, it has developed a long-lasting equity marker in the duck that makes the brand instantly recognizable.

But what does it mean? In the above spot, the message is clearly about price – or, at least, money back.

It’s a still a thing. Not an emotion.

All brands need to understand the difference between the business of their business and the business of their brand.

The business of insurance companies is to provide insurance and all that comes with it: Protection, good rates, even loyalty programs.

But the business of your brand is different.

It is what you’re offering on an emotional level. Who you are when you are part of that brand.

For the Apple consumer, for example, you are the one who thinks different.

Who is the Aflac customer? Answer that question and Aflac can create preference.

Insurance Rebranding. Homeowners

Homeowners insurance marketing falls traps of marketing those things homeowners already believe they have.

Even if the most intensive message is about protection. The tone and approach are the same jokes as car insurance. It gets lost.


Farmer’s Insurance establishes a character (the professor) who is set into a comical situation that overshadowing the message.

This is a better attempt at providing preference.

The brand is specific (covering your home’s roof) and the humor is kept low key. (That is, compared to a talking lizard and depressed cavemen.)

Farmer’s also has the benefit of having equity markers, a recognizable theme and themeline, “We are Farmers,” that has its own nostalgic and emotional feel.

But considering how often insurance advertising is broadcast – including auto insurance – it blends in right with the others.


Travelers does the best job in the category using its equity markers.  The umbrella.

The umbrella signifies protection and its themeline of “It’s better under the umbrella” gives the brand some meaning.

There is confusion about what is being marketed, but Travelers uses it equity marker and “puppy love” to get to the emotional reason why homeowner’s insurance becomes such a crucial decision. It’s one of the ways you meet change.

This is humorous and affecting spot. If you are a sucker for dogs. But the message is organic of the spot. You know who the spot is for right from the very start and the umbrellas brings its own meaning.

Rebranding Insurance Summary

insurance rebrandingThey are the same as brand.

How is the GEICO customer any different than Progressive customer? Only Travelers has a brand image and meaning that is different than others.  But it doesn’t go all the way.

Insurance companies hemorrhage their money on advertising that is not persuasive. Their brands are undifferentiated

Insurance companies have always been a big player in advertising dollars, but the spends have gotten so large that they are trying to buy market share. They are losing the game.

Awareness may have once been the problem for the GEICO and Progressives of the world, but it’s not anymore. The battle is over preference.

Each percentage of market share accounts for millions of dollars in revenue. There is a tremendous amount at stake.

Insurance companies— get away from the gecko and Flo, and move into something real.

 Our ProAssurance Case Study

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GEICO is beating the Insurance Competition

Is there opportunity in the insurance industry?

The insurance industry needs to wake up

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Auto insurance companies claiming the same space

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