financial services

American Family Talks Safe Driving With MTV


American Family Insurance is launching an integrated marketing campaign that includes affiliations with two MTV-produced series.  

The campaign backs American Family's "Teen Safe Driver" program. This is the second year that American Family -- along with media partners Mindshare and MTV -- have done programs on teen driving. Last year, the company created a branded entertainment campaign, "Road to the Woodies," wherein a Nebraska teen did a series of road tests in hopes of winning a trip to MTV's Woodie Awards. Episodes included video and audio footage of the teen's performance using another item from an American Family teen safety program, a "Teen Safe Driver" in-car camera.

This year's effort comprises a "Road Trip Adventure" micro series. The six-part co-branded series follows three friends on a "bucket list" road trip across America before they all go off to college. The series started this month on MTV's "The Buried Life."



There is also a PSA, featuring that show's cast, which deals with how to stay safe on the road. At its end, viewers are directed to, where there are episodes, behind-the-scenes footage, and a sweepstakes for a chance to win $5,000 by signing American Family's Teen Safe Driver pledge.

American Family also has branded integration with MTV2's upcoming "The Ride," which features eight high school quarterbacks in a training camp with NFL coaches, with the winner selected to play in a national high school all-star game, the U.S. Army All American Bowl, to be broadcast on NBC on Jan. 8.

American Family will also sponsor an in-broadcast portion called the "Safety Zone", during which coaches talk to the players about both on-field performance and on-road responsibilities.

A grassroots component, a pep rally for players and band members, has American Family at high schools in 19 states where it does business.

Telisa Yancy -- who, among other things, started the branded entertainment program at Ford before leaving the automaker in 2007 for Burger King -- presented a case study this week at the Branded Entertainment Forum in New York. But the focus was on the company's NBC-produced faux situation comedy "In Gayle We Trust" ( about a fictive insurance agent. That program was also developed by Mindshare, Chicago.

"We partnered with MTV for this [Road Trip Adventure] program because they have such a unique space in the market. The 'Woodies' campaign did phenomenally well for us," she says. "So this year we wanted to leverage that same energy with something new during National Teen Driver Safety Week."

Yancy tells Marketing Daily that tying in with "Buried Alive" made sense because of the show's socially responsible story line and its appeal to both parents and kids. "It's cost-effective and engagement-rich; by becoming part of the show's content in a holistic way, it is cost-effective because it offers a greater degree of awareness than just a traditional spot, without the requirement of a much more broad schedule [beyond MTV or that show]."

She says that while the show -- and therefore American Family's part in it -- will air beyond the markets in which the company does business, it won't cost American Family any more in media dollars and "it gives us brand awareness as we begin to lay the foundation for the next generation of drivers."

At the Branded Entertainment event, Yancy said American Family Insurance is the No. 14 insurance carrier in the U.S. "The big players spend a lot more than we do. GEICO, Allstate, State Farm and Progressive all spend a lot more. But people who have seen "In Gayle We Trust" say they now prefer us first, and that's the first time we have ever been preferred. That's just a foreshadow of the brand engagement results we have."

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