Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Marketing Awareness.

Modern marketers tend to get very excited by ideas of conversation and engagement with customers. Given that they are aware how many images and messages each of us receive every day, they have become less impressed by the more basic aim of generating awareness. This, I think, is why this pun-based campaign has received such criticism from within the advertising world.

Some complain that the imitation of Morgan Freeman is a deceitful hijacking of the actor's gravitas while others just deem it trite, shouty advertising disguised as something else. But that is to overlook context.

It's an ad for insurance. Insurance stubbornly remains a commodity business where price trumps service because we buy it before we need it. The engagement with the product/service occurs at a time of distress and not at a time of purchase.

In a commodity business, awareness is key. You want your customer to have your name come to mind when they consider the purchase. It's brutally simple. A differentiation strategy predicated on engagement ignores the mindset of the audience.

From a business strategy perspective you don't want to be in the diminishing-margin commodity game, but from a marketer's perspective you have to accept that an increasing number of industries are becoming commoditised. If you're working in or for one, you can try to get your boss/client to adapt their offering, but in the mean time, you have to swallow your pretensions and do what the context demands.


Anonymous Dan Thornton said...

I'm an outlier, but for me, service trumps price in automotive insurance.
I've mistakenly bought based solely on price and regretted it - plus as a motorcyclist and occasional owner of unusual cars, most mainstream insurers struggle to even know what my car is, yet alone give me a decent price!

1:31 PM, January 03, 2011  
Blogger john dodds said...

I think there are many people like you Dan and it's the industry's failure to see this - which perhaps has its origins in the historical sales agent basis of the industry.

I once proposed to a client exactly that - that they should position themselves as insurance-plus - and while they took some of the ideas on board they could not deny the strength of the industry's conventional wisdom about customer preferences.

4:18 PM, January 03, 2011  
Blogger Carol L. Weinfeld said...

The spot is effective since it visualizes an event the consumer could relate to when purchasing insurance. It would have been preferable to use Morgan Freeman's voice. In the insurance business, consumers want authenticity.

10:37 AM, January 05, 2011  
Blogger john dodds said...

Maybe I'm naive but I think it's just about name-recognition and not much else. As for the authenticity issue, lots of voice-overs here use imitations. While that might be questionable since Im not sure how many people realise it, I don't think it applies here as the "deception" is explicit.

2:46 AM, January 06, 2011  
Blogger Carol L. Weinfeld said...

I had wondered if the imitation voice-over was culturally accepted, whereas it would not be in the U.S. Good to know.

4:58 PM, January 17, 2011  
Blogger john dodds said...

As i said, the deception is part of the joke here, but I wouldn't be surprised if in the US there were many radio ads (as there have been here) where the voiceover sounds like a celebrity withoiut it ever actually being claimed to eb that celebrity.

3:24 AM, January 18, 2011  

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