The use of emotion in protection advertising

Sue Helmont, Marketing Director at AIG Life put together this video specially for The Big Read and talks in-depth about protection advertising.

If you would prefer to read Sue's thoughts the following is a transcript of the video.

I'm the Marketing Director at AIG life and I've been around the protection industry for quite some number of years. People might not actually know me, but they will know some of my work. I was very pleased to work with my colleagues at Aviva a few years ago to deliver a protection advert life with Paul Whitehouse, which we used to affectionately call, "Dead Dad", which I think was very well received in the market. And if I think back to how things have changed over those years, we've now got far more channels that we can contact and reach our prospective audiences, be that consumers or advisers in a much more cost-efficient way.

They used to be really only one way in which we could reach our consumers, which was buying television spots, which was hugely expensive. I often tell the story that you would spend a million pounds to buy four weeks of television spots. That's the media buy, not the advert. So any advertising for a financial services provider is in excess of 2 million pounds. What I wouldn't give to have 2 million pounds.

Now we certainly don't have those kinds of budgets to play with, but neither do we need them as we have social channels in terms of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, the opportunities and our ways of meeting very different demographics are much wider than they were 10 years ago. Social media is with us all the time. I mean if you think back to those media channels, I only ever used to watch television at a set period of time during the week in the evening and that was my opportunity as an advertiser to reach my target markets. Now I carry a device with me all of my conscious time and in between getting on and off the train or in between going between lifts in between floors I can access messaging and so it makes it much more accessible.

People think advertising is just a mass market and mass media approach - a one size fits all. I mean how very, very wrong. So one thing that hasn't changed in my time in working in advertising is you have to be very clear on who your target audience is and understand what their objections are to buying or what their motivations are to buying, and then both create your creative, your actual advertising message to appeal to them and then create your media buy that sits underneath that so that you reach them.

Not once, but usually typically would work for opportunities to see of up to seven times. But the key to getting a response to any, any advertising campaign is to understand how the human brain operates. I have been very critical in the market and I will continue to be critical in the market of our continuous use of rational reasons why we think consumers should buy life insurance.

And we've all seen it. We all know it. It's, you know, what percentage of people will get cancer before they're 50 and many people will have a heart attack in the next three years. You know, I mean, we persist in using rational facts to change behaviour. Those two things just absolutely don't match up. Emotion is what changes behaviour. And so in order to engage a consumer to do something different, buy life insurance, then you need to engage them emotionally in, "why they should do that?"

So one of the things specifically that we've done around developing this campaign is to use neuroscience and psychometric testing with a specialist, scalable consumer research firm, where we've actually cut the edits of this film for maximum impact in six and 15 second cuts, to grab the attention of the audience that our man, "Dave". So when he's scrolling through his Twitter feed, he stops and pays attention because we have structured those pieces of film footage, in such a way that we know he will respond to.

So I think one of the challenges with the protection industry doing advertising campaign is what's the call to action off the back of that advertising campaign. The whole point of advertising is to change behaviour. So what is the behaviour that the collective industry advertising campaign wants to change? Now we all have different products that we sell. We'll all have different targets. Some of us are D2C, some of us are B2B. What is it that would come to the end frame of that advertising, that we're asking those consumers to do differently? And so I think that's one of the key challenges that you need to understand. First of all, we'll be very clear on understanding what is it you want those consumers to do. And therefore, why would individual organisations want to be part of a collective advertising campaign.

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