Canadian Underwriter

Aviva Canada steps out with bold campaign

March 25, 2010   by Daryl-Lynn Carlson

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Aviva Canada is unapologetic about its self-deprecating advertising campaign that in some circles has caused a stir.

In the television spots, insurance personnel are thrown overboard into a sea of sharks once the guide learns of their profession; in another, a safari jeep full of insurance employees are left behind amid hungry tigers.

If that doesn’t elicit a giggle, Aviva’s billboard campaigns depict, tongue-and-check, the perplexing nature of insurance, with one stating “Insurance is confusing” to which a respondent would check a box “see below” or “see above”.

It’s the company’s advertising debut; before this Aviva never promoted itself publicly. 

“Consumers love it,” said Paul Fletcher, Aviva’s senior vice president of brand management. “It really does connect with the Canadian consumer, it resonates and they get what we’re saying, which is fundamentally ‘Aviva hears you, we understand things aren’t always perfect and we really are committing to changing that for the better’.”

Aviva employees like it too, he says.

But not all professionals do. Along with the campaign Aviva has invited people to post their thoughts about the theme on a Web site it calls Join Our Mission. Not all comments are favourable. “We knew with the design of this campaign for some people, the nature of the humour used, the interpretation of the message might feel uncomfortable,” Fletcher said, noting that the comments aren’t edited.

But in launching what it calls its “mission to change insurance”, the company intended to “spark a debate” over the industry’s image and create a brand “bold enough to change the perception,” he said. “We think it will take two or three years to achieve that.”

This story was originally published by Canadian Insurance Top Broker.