financial services

Bestow Uses Humorous Guilt Trips To Sell Insurance

Bestow, a life insurance challenger brand, is bringing humor to a category that often lacks it.

Its first brand campaign is all about surfacing the latent guilt people feel about not having purchased a life insurance policy.

“What If Everyone Knew You Didn’t Have Life Insurance?” from Austin, Texas creative agency Preacher includes 30-second spots with guilt trips from a "Smug Brother," "Mom-Friends" and a ”Disappointed Child.” 

Ads kick off in the company’s home market of Texas followed by national rollout in January. The media plan includes connected TV, YouTube, display and social.



The campaign is focused on building awareness and consideration, says Bestow CMO Tannen Campbell. 

“Since our media buy focuses primarily on digital, attributable channels, we are interested to see how it performs throughout the funnel,” Campbell tells Marketing Daily. “For videos specifically, we will compare performance across YouTube, programmatic TV and CTV. All those learnings will influence our media mix when we launch nationally in January, which is typically a strong month for life insurance sales.”

The company had the campaign ready to go in March, but held off launching when the pandemic hit, Campbell says.

“Now, we’ve seen the country enter a ‘new normal,’” Campbell says. “Parents are busier than ever with virtual learning for kids and trying to work from home, with so much uncertainty everywhere you look. When they do have a spare moment, recent research shows that they are actively seeking out humorous content, looking for a little levity.”

Due in part to increased life insurance demand during the pandemic, Bestow has experienced a record sales year. From March through September, sales were up five times versus a year ago.

Life insurance is about protecting your loved ones after you die -- not exactly a fun thing to talk about, says Kellyn Blount, creative director, Preacher.

“We found that doing something that doesn’t directly affect you when you are alive is an urgency killer,” Blount tells Marketing Daily. “But what does work is guilt. Nobody likes to be exposed, especially to the judgey people we all have in our lives.”

Humor is a way to take some of the edge off of the shame strategy, Blount says. 

“We referred to the strategy as being handed a weapon and having to wield it carefully,” Blount adds. "In the end we feel we found the right balance of shame and humor through a dark comedy approach.” 

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