Canadian Underwriter

Winning with Humour

August 4, 2010   by Saba Taye

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Two years ago, after learning that the average Canadian views insurance as a “necessary evil,” Canada’s second largest insurer formulated a call to action: Let’s Change Insurance.

“Consumers view insurers with skepticism because they don’t really know what they are buying,” says Andrea Peckham, senior manager of brand marketing at Aviva.

As a result, Aviva decided to create a marketing campaign that addressed the consumer’s skepticism, but in a humorous way.

Last year, Aviva was recognized for this humorous marketing campaign–Let’s Change Insurance–by the Canadian Advertising Success Stories awards, otherwise known as The CASSIES. This awards program recognizes and rewards effective advertising, and last year presented Aviva with a Bronze Award for Best Insight.

Only recently, many larger insurance carriers have bypassed traditional marketing to brokers with campaigns aimed directly towards the consumer. The purpose for many–but not all–of these campaigns is to build brand awareness. For Aviva, the campaign was an effort to strengthen their brand and to drive traffic to their consumer brand website,

When a current or potential client logs on to the site they can take quizzes and find answers about insurance. Peckham says the campaign was a great way to build awareness and help make Aviva a household name.

“A lot of people think that we are small,” explains Peckham. “[These people] wouldn’t rank us up there with some of the bank insurance brands,” but only because the banks have a much higher profile, “through their retail advertising.”

Since Aviva started its campaign, this lack of awareness has started to change. “[When] we launched the campaign in 2008, we had less than 5% of unaided brand awareness. We are now approaching a mid-30% awareness level in our key markets,” explains Peckham.

To build on this momentum, Aviva launched another campaign last fall in an effort to connect with Canadian communities. The Aviva Community Fund enables people to submit ideas on ways to help their community and compete for a share of $500,000 towards their initiative. More than 2,000 applicants submitted ideas; an independent judging panel selected eight winners.

This spring, Aviva launched the second part of their humorous effort to raise brand awareness and educate consumers. The new advertising campaign–Are You Covered For That?–launched on April 12, 2010, and the company will continue to monitor and track consumer response.

© Copyright 2010 Rogers Publishing Ltd. This article first appeared in the May 2010 edition of Canadian Insurance Top Broker magazine.

This story was originally published by Canadian Insurance Top Broker.