Ha, ha, ha - Thud

Apparently, humor doesn't sell so well:

"Geico's quirky gecko, Progressive's peppy Flo, Allstate's mischievous Mayhem ... aren't just ubiquitous but some of the most clever icons created by Madison Avenue."

True dat. My favorite is the Mayhem guy, especially in the family dog commercial. Not a big fan of the gecko, or the nationwide guy with the microphone. Still, one would think that these kinds of commercials would be highly effective: after all, they get your attention and promote brand recognition.

Not so much:

"[T]he heavy emphasis on humor-based advertising appears to be generating little more than expensive chuckles ... Nationwide's fourth fresh ad campaign since 2005 is a marked departure from the swelling tide of laugh-infused TV, radio and digital ads its marketers believe is choking consumer interest."

The emphasis appears to be leaning towards "warm and fuzzy" and away from laugh-tracks. The key, of course, is differentiation:

"The challenge is how to stand out from the other guy," says Jon Swallen, a longtime industry ... The fact that Nationwide is changing its approach suggests that they're attempting to carve a place where they can attempt to stand out."

Which, of course, makes sense.

On a related note, Progressive's "Snapshot" program seems to be paving the way for a new auto insurance rating model: pay-as-you-drive. This also makes sense: think about cell phones. A lot of us have monthly plans but leave minutes on the table, or run up big overage bills. But stop into Target or Walmart (to name just two) and one is faced with a broad array of pre-paid options. Whether or not this type of business model will work with car insurance is anyone's guess, but at least the industry's starting to think a bit outside the box.


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