Insurance Marketing Ideas: Emotion-Driven Marketing

9 March, 2012

How to accelerate your insurance marketing beyond "street legal"

In my opinion, VW is the master of emotion-driven marketing. Maybe it's because I'm a sappy girl, but they hook me every time.

Have you seen their latest advertising masterpiece? The commercial opens with a young boy eying a new bicycle. He asks, "Is it fast?" Later as he considers a new scooter adorned with painted flames, he again asks, "Is it fast?" Then when he turns 16, he again asks the same question about a used red sports car. The salesman replies, "I don't even know if it's street legal."  This guy clearly cares about speed.

Fast-forward 10 or 15 more years ... the same boy (now an adult) is peering into the window of a VW Jetta. As he straightens up, he says, "Is it safe?," just as you see his young son in a baby carrier on his chest.  Ahhhhh .... that is powerful advertising.

Anyone who has ever brought a newborn home from the hospital can relate to this ad. Although my boys are school age now, I still clearly remember the trepidation I felt the first time I drove with my little infants in the car. The speed limit seemed too fast, the cars in the next lane seemed to be crowding, and those little "baby on board" signs seemed a little less ridiculous. If I was a new parent in the market for a new car, I'd be all over the JETTA based on that ad.

Here's the quandary: How do we achieve that same emotion-driven mastery in insurance marketing? How do we take our marketing beyond street legal?

Insurance marketing is particularly challenging because the most emotionally-charged element of insurance is experiencing a devastating claim. Of course, we can tap into the emotion of fear, and show those claims in action, trying to scare our prospects into becoming customers, but for me, that doesn't have the same appeal as the VW ad. I want people to feel good when they think about my insurance brands.

Because we don't want to be negative, insurance marketers tend to focus on what they perceive are the positive elements of insurance ... the features, advantages and benefits of their products. But that strategy assumes that the insurance customer is buying based on logic, when in fact, that's not the case. Buying decisions are based on emotion and justified by logic. People will say they bought your product because of the great policy riders, but in most cases, the real reason they bought is because of the feeling that they had when they interacted with you and your company. You made them feel safe, smart or understood.

So, back to the original question ... does emotion-driven advertising work for insurance marketing? I feel that the answer is YES. Just because we don't see really good emotion-driven advertising in the insurance industry very often doesn't mean that it won't work.

So I'll leave you with two insurance marketing ideas - or maybe we should call them challenges ...

  1. If you know of a good emotion-driven insurance ad or commercial, post the link here so we can all see it. Let us know if it was effective or not.

  2. Get beyond "street legal" insurance marketing messages! The next time you start to develop an insurance marketing piece, use VW as your inspiration. Can you paint a relatable picture as effectively as they did?