financial services

American Family Enlists Sports Stars

New work for American Family Insurance features a roster of sports stars: former New York Yankees MLB All-Star Derek Jeter, Golden State Warriors NBA All-Star Kevin Durant and Houston Texans NFL All-Pro J.J. Watt.

Created by BBDO New York, the effort continues the theme “Insure Carefully, Dream Fearlessly.” 

American Family Insurance captivates consumers by showing the role the company can play in their lives, says Telisa Yancy, chief marketing officer, American Family Insurance. By insuring carefully with the company, customers “are free to dream fearlessly.”

“By partnering with these particular ambassadors who are aligned to the same values as our brand, it differentiates us from our competitors,” Yancy tells Marketing Daily. “And though Kevin Durant, Derek Jeter and J.J. Watt are great athletes, they are also great dreamers — they all have distinctive stories that transcend sports and provide inspiration for consumers on and off the field. They epitomize what American Family and our customers believe in, devoting extraordinary effort, taking risks and conquering the odds to realize their dreams and, in the process, supporting and helping others.”



The spots show the athletes off the court and field and into the lives of these dreamers, giving them a chance to offer a lending hand, Yancy says. 

“The support and involvement they provide is representative of the type of support we provide for our customers, and these stars become literal, physical embodiments of our brand and the work we do as a company,” Yancy says.

The campaign is built around three stories with the theme that every dream deserves a champion. In two of these stories, the brand ambassadors offer unexpected assistance to hardworking Americans whose dreams are to help others by giving back to their communities. 

A program called “School on Wheels” offers educational assistance to children living on the streets. In the commercial of the same name, Jeter, Durant and Watt surprise the regional director, Charles, and work with the children on their math, reading and drawing.  “With Love Market” features a cafe which makes healthy food accessible and affordable. The brand ambassadors make fresh juices and help customers choose their food.   

A third execution, created by Elite Media, “Hometown Hero,” takes a slightly different approach. Durant surprises James, a young boy from his hometown who thinks he’s waiting to appear on a talk show to discuss how his single mother supports his dream of being a dancer. Durant offers encouragement and shares what his own single mother told him as a young, aspiring athlete.

All three videos feature “I Know Better,” an instrumental rendition of a yet-to-be-released song from Grammy- and Oscar-winning musician John Legend, the newest American Family brand ambassador.

The stories unfold in a series of long-form online films, two of which have been edited into :30 television spots as well. There are also shorter-length teasers to help drive viewership and radio.

“Our brand ambassadors exemplify that a dream champion means more than cheering from the sidelines; they inspire us to keep going, do more, dig deeper,” Yancy says. “They set the example and actively assist others in achieving their dreams by helping overcome challenges. Their actions mirror what we — as a company — stand for. They live it, they demonstrate it and they represent it.”

The campaign targets multiple consumer segments across demographics and socio-economic factors. 

“Collectively, we call them proactive dreamers,” Yancy says. “They are consumers who believe in hard work, diligence and the notion of dreaming bigger dreams than most think possible, and then rolling up their sleeves to get it done.”

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