Hartford brand

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

8 April 2019

Hartford brand uses its equity, but messaging falls flat

Some are calling the new campaign for the Hartford brand a makeover for that brand. It isn’t. If anything, it’s the Hartford brand repositioning by taking advantage of the brand itself.

The new campaign centers around the Hartford Buck, the brand equity Hartford has owned for more than 40 years. It just hasn’t used ole Buck this directly since the 70s.

In the new campaign, the insurance giant highlights its small business insurance. The ads feature a baker, a barber and other assorted small businesses that the Buck, who appears at the end, says are no small thing.

The spots, voiced by actor David Aston Reese whose voice sounds remarkably like Jean Shepherd from A Christmas Story, end with the tagline, “The buck’s got your back.”

“Outside of the Hartford Buck, there’s nothing to make a target audience sit up and take notice. I like the tone. I applaud the Hartford brand for taking advantage of its brand equity. But, people, we can do better than this flat messaging.”

The use of an equity marker is nothing new for insurance brands. In fact, there may be too many of them. The gecko lizard for GEICO. Flo from Progressive. JK Simmons’ professor for Farmer’s. And on and on.

But none of them sport a marker so deeply embedded with the brand itself. The buck represents the Hartford brand as a strong, sentry-like figure that protects you.

But the Hartford brand can do better than this with messaging

Good for Hartford on finally leveraging the most recognizable part of the Hartford brand.

Hartford brandHowever, is “having your back” and small businesses not wanting to be seen as small the highest emotional intensities in the market? It’s the bane of most insurance advertising that the most clichéd messages are promoted. And that’s what you have here.

Protecting you. Good rates. We care. On and on. While the Hartford Buck does mean strength and protection, the ads sure don’t get into the heart of the emotional matter.

Outside of the Hartford Buck, there’s nothing to make a target audience sit up and take notice. I like the tone. I applaud the Hartford brand for taking advantage of its brand equity.

But, people, we can do better than this flat messaging.

See more posts in the following related categories: brand repositioning

1 Comment

  1. Todd Nothnagel

    The logo & ads show a “Bull” Elk or possibly a “Stag” Red Deer, not a “Buck” which would be a Whitetail or a Muledeer. If they don’t know the difference, how can they “have your back”? This makes them look foolish to anyone who knows the difference.

    Reply

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