Ad of the Week with Oresti Patricios – Insurance advertising that doesn’t suck

For the longest time in the history of advertising, insurance commercials were awful. The usual fare in this category used to include a washed-up actor (or former television news presenter) droning on about what would happen if one suddenly died and left the wife and children all alone (with the wolves knocking at the door). The punch line would be how Dead Dull Insurance Co was the answer to life, death, the universe and funeral bills.

If you weren’t being destroyed by guilt, you’d be spurred on by fear – that other classic marketing staple. These insurance adverts usually included children and the grim reaper, although Mr Reaper wasn’t always cast in a starring role. The hooded figure with the large, scary sickle was often off camera, but cast a long enough shadow to let you know he was lurking. These ads were more frightening than anything featuring Jason, Freddy or a Jesuit priest called Father Damien Karras.

Thankfully, most thankfully, insurance advertising has become a little more inventive, creative and even funny of late. Financial services companies have (at last) realised that buying insurance is a grudge purchase and that there are better ways of plying this type of product than trying to freak people out.

Quick case: Allan Gray – growing its market share from 3.9% to 16% in eight years

Allan Gray, a successful but niched Cape based asset management firm, decided to extend the business into the retail sector with the launch a unit trust company, in a market dominated by a handful of big brand asset managers (such as Old Mutual and Sanlam) and specialist investment organisations (like Coronation, Investec etc.).

Banking from their cellphones

Research released by The World Wide Worx shows that the number of people banking from their cellphones has exceeded that of people banking from their PCs in South Africa, with more than a quarter of bank customers turning to their cellphones for services ranging from informational transaction types such as balance enquiries to financial transaction types which include account payments.

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