Don’t Kill Off Customers with Bad Ad Campaigns


2. It doesn’t pay off on the implicit promise

I ran the campaign by a handful of friends—all in the marketing and advertising business—and everyone had very similar reactions: If 15 minutes can save me 15% or more, then 7½ minutes can save me 7½% or more?

There are also two basic issues here:



  • The latest spots do not mention a savings. An earlier spot mentioned 30%, and one can see a beautiful spot evolving from there: half the time, double the savings. But, no, they also didn’t pay off that promise on the spot. So there is no incentive to call.
  • The latest spots also waste a huge amount of time in mocking their potential consumers and not enough on selling Esurance. As a result, there’s no real call to action.

The problem with direct response campaigns—and make no mistake, every insurance campaign is direct response—is that it requires some development time to get you to click or call. The potential customer must be presented with at least the semblance of a problem (15 minutes on the phone?) and then a solution: click or call. The Esurance spots don’t do that.

3. The Esurance campaign leaves itself open to ridicule

Geico, which has broken so many grounds, could easily counter the campaign in many ways.



  • “If 15 minutes can save you 15% or more what can 7½ minutes REALLY save you?”
  • Or Geico could easily deploy 100 or so people to make calls to Esurance and test whether or not they can complete the call in 7½ minutes. (A consumer group did that to Subway and found that the “foot longs” were only 11 inches.)
  • Or it could create a campaign where people in the 35 to 45 age group say, “Phone call? Who has time for that when I do it online.” 30% of Geico’s business is currently done online.

Taking Huge Creative Risks

The insurance category is anything but staid. First, it generates billions of dollars. Allstate and Geico each generated around $9 billion for the first half of 2013 (Allstate $9.13 billion and Geico $9.0 billion).

Advertising is aggressive and very creative and every company seems willing to take huge risks creative in an effort to get consumers to switch. Esurance has shown a huge willingness to take creative risks, so surely it will fix all these issues. Or Geico is going to fix it for them.


Some other articles by Marcelo:

Creative Strategy and Ratios: Holy Trinity?

Hispanic Business Spectrum of Food Companies- Part 2

Hispanic Businesses and the Food Industry- Part 1

4 Steps To Pump Up Your Marketing Muscle

Is Social Media Good For Business?

The Washington Post Morphs To The Amazon Post?