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.