September 18th, 2014

Insurance Brands Compete for NFL Playtime


Ace Metrix


Insurance companies have been tackling NFL Pros to appear in their season opener commercials. So far, USAA, Geico, State Farm and Nationwide have each debuted new creative featuring an NFL player. 

But it was an ad from NFL Sponsor USAA Auto Insurance, which broke before the Thursday opener, that earned the highest Ace Score of the Insurance set to air this season. USAA’s “Thank You” is a continuation of its campaign, which features people of all ages thanking family members for their military service and, ultimately, their auto insurance legacies. Unsurprisingly, the ad captures highest scores from a more mature audience with females 50+ being tops at an average Ace Score of 620. 

While breakthrough components aren’t as outstanding as others within the category, the ad achieved strong brand recognition with “USAA” used in 9% of the optional verbatims.

Speaking of which, it would seem many ads of the NFL lineup have been focused on getting into people’s heads rather than driving persuasion – leveraging the context of the games with many featuring NFL players.

Nationwide’s “Jingle” is a great example of a reminder branding ad. While the ad performed below norm on nearly every component of Persuasion across the general population, it did find an audience among the 21-35 age group. Both men and women of this group awarded the ad strong Attention and Likeability scores. Many of the 300+ optional responses left for the advertiser expressed confusion about the connection between Peyton, insurance and the various scenarios where the NFL player sings the jingle; however, I, for one (admittedly outside the top demo), found myself humming it all weekend long and feeling a new soft spot for Manning.

Other ads also went for humor and brand building over persuasion. State Farm released the second in a series of Saturday Night Live throwback characters with “Hans and Franz Trainer” (the first being “The Rickmeister” a couple of weeks back). The ad performed well with the 21-49 crowd, (at the sacrifice of the 50+ audience). Twenty-two percent found the ad “funny” and 36% said that the characters (which also include Aaron Rodgers) were the best thing about the ad.

Geico aired two ads during the Thursday NFL opener. “Ickey Shuffle” debuted during the game and earned an Ace Score of 551, just 3% above the 12-month norm. As the name indicates, this ad also features an NFL superstar, Ickey Woods, and reiterates the brand’s memorable “15 Minutes or Less” campaign tagline but focuses first and foremost on the entertainment quality. Twenty-eight percent of respondents called this ad funny and 13% mentioned Geico by name. 

So far this year, 33 ads featuring NFL superstars have debuted. In light of recent NFL events, it will be interesting to see if any brands decide to change their sponsorship strategy with the influence of pro players.


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