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No Credit Check with Direct Auto Insurance

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Advertising, Research Last Updated: 08/24/2012

Direct Auto Insurance brings a new character and program to drivers looking for insurance.


Commercial opens with former racecar driver JJ Hightail in his Direct Auto Insurance racing uniform.

Hightail: I’ll be honest. I’m not what some might call responsible or a guy who always pays his bills on time. So maybe my credit isn’t what you’d call good at all. But the good news is, unlike other insurance companies direct auto doesn’t require a credit check.

Hightail does the finger quote thing around the words: responsible, guy who always pays his bills on time and good at all.

He does the two finger pointing thing away from him, and the words “No Credit” and “No Problem” pop up on the screen where he was pointing.

Hightail: It’s official! I guess they care more about the driver, than they do some number. Which is a huge plus because mathematics scare me. So do clowns.

“No Clowns” pop up on the screen under the “No Problem”.

Screen changes to the front of Hightail’s uniform. Under the Direct Auto Insurance logo on his uniform is “We’ll do right by you” on the screen.

Hightail: Call, click, or come in today.

Point of Commercial

Direct Auto Insurance is bringing out the news that they don’t check credit scores; which is a good play by them. Credit scores are a very sore subject with many drivers. They don’t believe that how they handle their money has anything to do with how safe of a driver they are.

By advertising this, Direct Auto Insurance is reaching out to those that don’t want their insurance premium affected by their credit score.

What They Want You to Do

They want drivers to start thinking about Direct Auto Insurance as much as the bigger insurance companies.

This JJ Hightail is a fictional character created by Direct Auto to be their spokesperson. He is no different than the GEICO gecko or Flo from Progressive.

Studies have shown advertising companies that consumers best relate to companies that have one of these fictional, character symbols in place. Did you know that Priceline brought William Shatner’s character back from the dead because of this?

So for Direct Auto, creating JJ Hightail is a good move.

My Opinion

Okay, the commercial is stupid, but not as stupid as some of the previous Direct Auto commercials, though. After watching this commercial for the 15th time while writing this, JJ kind of started to grow on me and I didn’t mind him so much. This increasing like of the character is a good thing, because I am starting to get annoyed with Flo from Progressive, and I used to like her.

Overall, JJ did leave an impression. If I was looking for auto insurance, Direct Auto would be on my list to call.

Giving this Direct Auto Insurance commercial two thumbs up.

Flo from Progressive says, “Bring it on”

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Advertising, Research Last Updated: 08/17/2012

Flo from Progressive and her team train for competition against their insurance competitors.


Commercial opens with Flo and two fellow Progressive guys walking into a room, Flo suddenly stops. In front of them are two other men, who we assume are from another insurance company.

Flo gives the “I’ve got my eyes on you” sign with her fingers to the other two men. The men respond by whipping off their professional clothes and have scary, singlet’s on underneath. Flo and her guys jump back with shock and amusement.

Both sides go through ridiculous motions of training for a competition between insurance companies. The training methods of the other insurance company are, of course, more ridiculous than the Progressive team.

Announcer: Whether it’s showing competitors rates, or striving to be number one; we’re always up for a little competition.

Training scene ends with the progressive team celebrating. Some of the guys dump a cooler of liquid on the robot Flo to celebrate and she shorts out.

Announcer: Now that’s Progressive.

Point of Commercial

Flo from Progressive and her team are being used as a visual example of Progressive being up for any challenge the other insurance companies can throw at them. They are saying that at Progressive they are always “training” to be the best in the insurance field and do better than what the other insurance companies are doing.

What They Want You to Do

I guess they want you to think that Progressive is always doing something new to be the best. There is really no other point being made in the commercial. Progressive’s contact information is showing on the bottom, but there is no request to contact them.

In fact, they don’t ask you to contact them, get a quote, or tell you that they can save you money on car insurance. They don’t really tell you how they could benefit you at all. Thinking about it, what are they trying to be number 1 in?

My Opinion

Of all the progressive commercials I have seen, this one is pretty bad. Sadly, though, it is not the worst. It feels like they are trying too hard to be funny with this one. It has none of the endearing qualities that the other commercials with Flo from Progressive.

It also feels too much like a challenge to the other insurance companies that Progressive is going to stay competitive with them. I just don’t like that it feels more like the current presidential campaign instead of telling their potential clients how they stay competitive and are the best.

Without any doubt, giving this Flo with Progressive commercial two thumbs down.

Insurance Advertising: Your Premium Dollars at Work

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Advertising, Research Last Updated: 08/31/2012

insurance advertising

Insurance advertising gives insurance companies a chance to convince you that they are the best.

Like it or not, you may have paid for part of that terrible insurance advertising commercial you just watched.

In many states, it is said that there are two seasons: winter and road construction. With road construction season in full swing right now you may have seen the signs that pop up on the side of the road. The signs that give you the details of the project, and then includes the phrase “Your Tax Dollars at Work”.

You can see the very same message with insurance companies; they just don’t broadcast it as plainly. But each time you see an insurance commercial, that’s your insurance premium dollars at work.

Insurance Advertising Over Time

Car insurance companies have been around since the late 1800s. The very first insurance company to sell insurance was Travelers Insurance Company in 1897. Back then there was little competition in the car insurance field though, for two reasons.

First, there were very few drivers on the road at that time, so there weren’t all that many car insurance companies anyway. Second, drivers weren’t forced to purchase car insurance until 1927 and many didn’t.

Today, the car insurance scene is much different. Now, we have insurance companies practically tripping over each other in the race to get your business. They rely heavily on insurance advertising to convince you that they are better than the other insurance company and hope that you will believe them.

Then once they have you as a client; they take part of your insurance premium and pay for more insurance advertising to try and convince more drivers to buy insurance from them.

Who Spends the Most on Car Insurance Advertising?

GEICO, by far, spends more on car insurance advertising than any other company out there. Per SNL Financial, GEICO spent 993.8 million dollars on advertising in 2011. This is an increase of 10% over the 902.7 million that was spent in 2012.

Compared to the other insurance companies, GEICO alone spends 1 out of every 6 dollars spent in the insurance industry on advertising ( With how frequently GEICO churns out new commercials the amount they spend is not surprising.

Does the Insurance Advertising Make a Difference?

For some companies it does and for others it doesn’t. GEICO is the top insurance company on the Fortune 500 list, and they are also the insurance company that spends the most in insurance advertising.

On the other hand, some insurance companies can spend millions on insurance advertising and see very little increase in business. For example, $45 million was spent on advertising for Esurance in just the first quarter of 2012. When the growth numbers came out, there was barely a difference between this year with the large advertising push, and the same time the year before (SNL Financial).

Leave us a comment and tell us if your insurance company is putting your premium to good work or not on their insurance advertising.

21st Century Insurance Calls in the Puppies

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Advertising, Research Last Updated: 08/31/2012

21st Century Insurance lets the puppies show you which insurance company to pick.


Announcer: Car insurance customer service reps, how can you tell whose are the nicest?

The commercial has started with the 21st Century guy standing in the middle of the screen between two crates. On either side of the crate is a lady in blue representing GEICO on his right and a lady in red representing 21st Century on his left. The 21st Century guy lifts the gates on the crates and puppies run out to the lady closest to them.

Announcer: Ah ha! Well, our competitors seems friendly and at 21st Century so does ours. See puppies don’t lie. But, drivers who switch from GEICO to 21st Century save an average of 508 dollars a year.

Puppies run from the GEICO lady over to the 21st Century lady.

Announcer: Smart puppies. 21st Century insurance, the same great coverage for less.

Singers: Digi digi digi digi digi digi digi digi 21st.

Puppy: bark

Screen changes to red with “21st” and “SAME GREAT COVERAGE FOR LESS”

Point of Commercial

21st Century plays up big on the cute factor here, but that is not the point of the commercial. The point of the commercial is like so many others in that they can save you more money than the other guy.

21st Century just happens to make their point by showing you that even cute puppies can make the right decision of which insurance company to go with.

What They Want You to Do

They want you to say, “Awwww, that’s so cute.” They want you to feel good, and then they want you to contact them and see if you can save money with them also.

The whole commercial they have both their phone number and their website on the bottom of the screen. You may have not noticed though because of the cute puppies.

My Opinion

Playing up on the puppies is a good idea. Aside from the adage “sex sells”, cuteness sells also.

I like this commercial as a consumer and I was also taken in by the cuteness. But there were two things that were really missing that could hurt them with this commercial.

Allstate’s Mayhem Introduces the New Claims Satisfaction Guarantee Program

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Advertising, Research Last Updated: 07/30/2012

Allstate’s Mayhem is back with a new claims satisfaction guarantee program against your cheap insurance company.


The commercial opens with Mayhem sitting in a cubicle of a claims department and air conducting the on-hold music.

Mayhem: (giggles)

Screen goes to someone on the side of the road that has just run into a traffic barrel and is on his cell phone.

Mayhem: Please continue to hold, the next available claims representative will be with you in 97 minutes (he laughs and reaches over to play a little ditty on a keyboard).

Screen changes to the guy by the side of the road that is the unlucky caller on the line with Mayhem and he has a dumbfounded look on his face. Screen back to Mayhem.

Mayhem: If you have cut-rate insurance, there’s nothing you can do about this.

Screen goes back to the side of the road and the guy that was on the cellphone with Mayhem does an excellent representation of a centerfield to home base throw with his cellphone.

Mayhem: So get Allstate. The only insurance company that guarantees your claim experience won’t be mayhem……

Screen has switch back and forth a couple times now, until we are back to Mayhem who is now twirling around in his chair.

Mayhem: … me.

Mayhem pops out of his chair and kicks over the keyboard as he walks out of the office.

Announcer: Introducing the claims satisfaction guarantee only from Allstate. Mayhem is everywhere, are you in good hands?

Point of Commercial

Allstate’s Mayhem has the pleasure of introducing the new claims satisfaction guarantee program from Allstate Insurance.

To prove their point, Allstate has Mayhem take over the claims department of another insurance company. Usually they just point out specific claims that may not be covered. This is why it caught my attention as being something different from their norm.

What They Want You to Do

They want you to be curious about this claims satisfaction guarantee program and call to ask questions.

They reveal nothing about the program, which is brilliant. This leaves people wondering what the heck this program is and how are they going to pull this one off. With nothing revealed, you are left with little choice, but to contact them for more information.

Once they have you one the phone, they can talk you into getting a quote.

My Opinion

I am a little curious about this new program that Allstate’s Mayhem introduces us to. After working in the claims department of an insurance company, I can tell you that there are just some people you CANNOT satisfy. So, how are they going to satisfy everyone?

Other than that, Mayhem always can be counted on for a good commercial. Now, I have to debate whether to call Allstate to find out about their claims satisfaction guarantee program.

Giving this Allstate’s Mayhem claims satisfaction guarantee program commercial two thumbs up.

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