Direct General Targets Lower-Income Consumers

by , Jun 24, 2009, 4:39 PM
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Direct General OOH ad Southeast auto insurance carrier Direct General is debuting a new campaign positioning itself as the right insurer for tough times. It targets lower-income consumers who tend to live paycheck-to-paycheck and who may otherwise forgo insurance if not for Direct General's flexible payment options.

Themed "We'll do right by you," the campaign will run indefinitely, according to Craig Hamway, EVP, marketing and business development, Direct General. "We've got a solid, aggressive media schedule for the third quarter and are mapping out the fourth-quarter media mix as well as plans for next year," he tells Marketing Daily.

The Nashville, Tenn.-based company spent more than $12 million last year in major measured media, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Timed to the peak during the summer travel period, three TV spots as well as radio are running in 30 markets while out-of-home runs in 60+ markets in 13 southeast states, including Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Louisiana. The campaign also includes print and public relations. This is the first work from Cramer-Krasselt/New York, which won the account in March.

The campaign emphasizes that at Direct General, customers choose when and how they pay their insurance premium, credit scores are not the basis for cost of coverage or quotes, and everyone is welcome -- even those who have previously dropped their coverage or hold multiple claims with other carriers.

The campaign establishes a new standard of consistency in messaging across all Direct General's communications, Hamway says. Previous campaigns emphasized the stores and retail platform. The company's point-of-difference is offering payment flexibility. The new creative focuses on helping people get coverage and stay covered.

"The message and creative executions address how we actually deliver tangible benefits to our customers and make it easy for them to do business with us in person, over the phone and online," Hamway said. "In each medium and execution, we communicate proof of performance and emphasize that Direct General is about making car insurance available to all."

With high unemployment rates, limited credit options and money tight across the board, people are making tough decisions on what bills they can afford to pay each month -- and which ones they will try to do without.

According to a new consumer survey by Direct General, 39% of drivers today would still get behind the wheel even if they were unable to keep their car insurance. Another study released earlier this year by the Insurance Research Council predicts that one in every six drivers won't have insurance by the end of 2009.

Out-of-home includes the message: "Driving without insurance? 1. Pull over. 2. Call us." The three testimonial-style TV spots feature customers discussing how Direct General differs from standard insurance providers like Allstate, GEICO and Nationwide.

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