Pink-haired and bubbly Erin Esurance, who served as the auto insurance company's spokesperson for many years and attracted many young male customers, is nowhere to be found in a new ad campaign.
Instead, TV spots, which debuted earlier this week, feature "live action" instead of animation and are centered on an ensemble cast of fictitious overachieving Esurance employees. The direct-to-consumer personal auto insurance company is also using an updated brand identity, which strives to be "modern and friendly, and convey the approachability of Esurance," says Esurance Chief Marketing Officer John Swigart in a release. Esurance also changed its logo.
The new logo is more sophisticated, says Jeremy Bowler, senior director, insurance practice lead, J.D. Power and Associates. "The challenge will be for Esurance to mature with their customers, in order to attract older buyers, while striving to not alienate the Gen X male that brought them to where they are today," Bowler tells Marketing Daily. "In one respect, they are striving to be more widely appealing, just as the Internet is gaining wider acceptance among older consumers."
Erin, selected by UGO.com as one of the top 50 hottest animated girls of all time, lives on in a unique way. "We portray her to viewers in much the same way that we see her in our own offices -- as our corporate icon," Swigart says. She shows up in the spots in cameos, such as on wall posters in the office and on computer screens on a Web site the employees are looking at. The commercials give two ways to reach Esurance, through a toll-free telephone number and a Web site address (esurance.com).
Five TV spots have been produced, and more will follow. Spots will air on major networks, and will be shown during the NBA Finals, as well as original episodes of series, including "Mad Men" and "Top Chef." They feature a new tagline: "People when you want them, technology when you don't."
The campaign launch is the result of the company's partnership with Duncan/Channon. Esurance selected the creative agency last fall to update its brand positioning and advertising. Both Esurance and the agency are based in San Francisco.