Have you seen the recent TV commercial for Allianz car insurance? If not, look out for it. It rates very highly for cringeworthiness. And is a very good example of why it's smarter to generate your leads online.
Is it just me, or is it rubbish?
The commercial features that tired old scenario of the middle aged dad and teenage daughter who just don't get along any more. Plus some very hammy acting. Followed by a truly awful version of Karma Chameleon. What, you might ask yourself, possessed anyone to air it?
Well, first of all it was created by one of the hot London agencies of the moment, 18 Feet & Rising (so named because that's the combined height of the three founders' creative, eh?! Rising, because they planned on growing. Geddit?). And if they say the commercial is on the money then it must be.
There is a method to their madness
Putting this snide kings new clothes comment aside there is another good reason for going down this route. Namely that car insurance is really, really boring. Which is why most people head straight to moneysupermarket.com, gocompare.com or comparethemarket.com and buy on price.
But there's a team at Allianz employed to "build the brand". A "we're cheap" message isn't going to keep them in a job for very long (plus it's probably not true either). So what do they do? They have to "add value", which means providing lots of options and features. But it's all pretty standard stuff, like accident recovery and legal expenses cover. These are useful points to put on a web page, but there's nothing exciting or dramatic enough to build a 60 or 40 second TV commercial around.
Let's take the emotional route home
The challenge is how to create instant engagement. So the creatives have to focus on something the audience will find relevant and interesting a like themselves! A lot of the target audience comprises families. So it's logical to do something around that.
The previous commercials focused on the school run and the stress involved (another example of an ad literally screaming for attention). Why not turn that around into something more positive? Like a father and daughter enjoying quality time in the car to overcome their differences and re-bond with each other with emotion that's laid on with a trowel.
But what's it got to do with car insurance? Not a lot. However, by resorting to the marketing word of the decade (story), they just about shoehorn their product in awkwardly at the close. As in stick the lines "Every car has a story. We insure yours" on the end frame.
Do the maths
It's a perfect example of the polarization that's happening in marketing. TV has become the medium for pedalling schmaltzy emotional message with little or no substance (and agencies with ever more pretentious names). While the web is where companies put all the useful information that helps people make informed buying decisions.
Consumers understand that, and go online to do their research. TV advertising has therefore become a very expensive way to try and generate warm feelings towards your brand (I say try because it's very hard to see any real return on investment). Rich content websites are quite the opposite. They generate qualified leads at the point when people are ready to make a buying decision. Plus it's a cost effective and measurable strategy that more than pays for itself. Take your pick!