MetLife's New Online Video Explains Concept Of Risk-Pooling

Cute animation and catchy songs helped explain complicated concepts like adverbs and the Constitution to an entire generation of Americans in the 1970s and 1980s. Now, MetLife is using similar tactics to help demystify the insurance industry.

The new Web video, "Everyone into the Pool," helps explain the concept of risk-pooling--spreading the risk among a group of people--by using familiar elements of its traditional advertising campaign--such as Snoopy and animated drawings of the word "if" (taken from the company's "Ifs in Life" tagline). Those images are paired with a song that includes lyrics like "Down the road of life, ifs are everywhere. If the kids, if the house, if your back needs repair. From past experience we can say: 'One of those Ifs will happen to someone today." A spoken part explains how "insurance can provide financial security in an uncertain world."

"We certainly took a page from the 'Schoolhouse Rock' playbook," said Beth Hirschhorn, MetLife CMO. "But we already had a campaign that supported it."

The tactic came about when the company was looking for a way to explain the often complex industry to general consumers without getting bogged down in jargon and actuarial, Hirschhorn said. "The idea started out as: 'How can we educate people to make this less complicated. And can we make it entertaining?'" she said. "It was a lot more challenging than we thought when we first started getting into it."

The video is already available on YouTube, and it leads consumers to a new MetLife microsite, "Simplified by MetLife," which helps explain how insurance works and includes an Insurance Selector Tool to help people determine how much and what kind of life insurance they might need.

The company will promote the video through keyword purchases, public relations and some online advertising. The Simplified site will be the subject of national print, television and online advertising, Hirschhorn said. Ultimately, the whole goal of the campaign is to help educate consumers about the insurance, how it works and why they might need it, she said.

"What we're trying to do is unmask the mystery of insurance," Hirschhorn said. "We need to make it less intimidating. We're helping (consumers) be better buyers of insurance."

While risk-pooling is not unique to MetLife (indeed, all insurance is a form of risk-pooling), Hirschhorn said the concept is one that resonates with consumers, and that promoting it will garner goodwill for the company. "We know that risk-pooling is a motivating concept when people understand it," she said. "Risk-pooling is at the heart of our program, and we want to be sure people understand."

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