Our annual assessment of standout insurance advertisements

By Emily Vale, Lead Consultant at The Lead Agency

As another year comes to an end, the Insurance Ad Oscars are back, featuring standout advertisements from the year that’s been.

With this article marking our seventh year, we’ve decided to shake it up.

If you’ve been eagerly awaiting the annual Insurance Ad Oscars as you know them, this one might come as a surprise. We’ve got a new author, so no, I’m not an AI writing tool.

Our long-time Ad judge Kim has entrusted me to take the reins and announce this year’s awards. Fortunately, if you’re reading this now, I’ve made it to publishing.

This year, as per tradition, we’ll showcase the advertisements that hit it out of the park and what made them successful.

But, on theme with shaking it up, what we were hoping to see this year was a fresh take on insurance advertising, something new and exciting. Somewhat like Apple releasing a new iPhone each year, we admire the fanfare but we quickly forget it, unless you can keep turning our heads.

With another shake-up to our usual format, we’ll also take a trip down memory lane and revisit our favourite advertisements from over the years, dating back to the inaugural Insurance Ad Oscars in 2017.

Think Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour, but without the music and dance numbers. Now that the bar is set impossibly high, let’s get into the awards.

The It’s Your World, We’re Just Living in It Award

Customer-centric advertising was prevalent across many of this year’s campaigns, placing the needs and experiences of the target audience at the forefront.

Insurers are saying we get you, we get your needs, and importantly, we get that they won’t be the same as the next person, so your coverage won’t be the same either.

Runner-Up

TAL: Personalised Cover

In this short and sweet advertisement, TAL’s message is clear from the get-go, succinctly but effectively sharing that they have you covered with personalised protection for however you live your life.

The ad shows a series of happy moments, all following the theme of reuniting with a loved one, be it a person or a pet. These moments are experienced by a diverse group of people, reinforcing the core message that there are many ways to do life, and whatever yours looks like, TAL is there to provide cover suited to you.

Winner

Suncorp: If Your Home Could Talk

If your home could talk, what would it say? This is the opening line of Suncorp’s campaign emphasising the importance of home resilience by showing snapshots of our lived experiences in our homes, both the highs and the lows.

From asking if your home would tell you where the remote is to whether it would complain about broken fixtures or question your colour choices, Suncorp portrays the human side of a home. The overarching message is that homes are not just physical structures; they’re places filled with memories and experiences, and this is what you’re really protecting with home resilience.

Like TAL, diversity has been considered in the casting, a positive turnaround from the 2017 Insurance Ad Oscars when we noted a distinct lack of advertising reflecting the reality of the Australia we live in. When advertisements accurately represent this diversity, they become more relatable and authentic to a broader audience.

The We’re Catching What You’re Throwing Award

Advertisements featuring sports personalities are something we’ve grown to expect each year. Recognisable sportspeople naturally spark interest, with fans more likely to pay attention to and remember ads with players they support and admire.

As with any advertising that casts well-known personalities, it can also make the ad more entertaining. While they’re a familiar person, these ads drop them into a new context, often leveraging humour to create an engaging ad with people we enjoy watching.

Runner-Up

QBE: Q Your Teammate

 

As a principal partner of the Sydney Swans AFL and AFLW teams and the NSW Swifts, QBE included players from all three teams in two variations of their “Q Your Teammate” campaign.

In both instances, the team members pass a ball to each other, either kicking or throwing it, depending on their sport, and it accidentally smashes the windscreen of their nearby car. QBE positions itself as your trusted team-mate, who you can rely on for insurance that covers the things you’ve thought of or – like that windscreen – some things you haven’t.

The players then contact QBE quickly and easily, and they’re able to shrug it off like it’s no big deal.

Winner

AAMI: AAMI Comes to the Rescue at the 2023 Toyota AFL Grand Final

A partner of the AFL, AAMI once again released an AFL Grand Final-themed advertisement, similar to last year’s “AAMI Prevent the Biggest Clanger of All” campaign.

With the first bounce of the game just around the corner, there’s a “clanger” with the match ball, which isn’t anywhere to be found. In keeping with their slogan, “Who covers clangers? AAMI does”, AAMI kicks into gear to get the ball to the game on time, with help from numerous personalities.

The ad follows the chaotic journey of the ball from Tasmania to being walked onto the field by AAMI on game day. AFL players like Trent Cotchin and media figures like Abbey Holmes make an appearance. However, we also see some more left-of-field cameos from food critic Matt Preston, Sharon from the Australian comedy series Kath & Kim, and soccer player Cortnee Vine – each paired with outlandish and unexpected situations. While this ad is on the longer side, it’s engaging and entertaining – qualities of advertising that’s right on the mark. 

The Most Memorable Ad Award

Winner

NRMA Insurance: Insurance Confidence, 2017

Advertisements that convey a powerful message that stays locked in your subconscious are rare, but NRMA Insurance’s “Insurance Confidence” campaign fits that description.

The campaign sees NRMA insurance members face various perilous situations, but “Confidence” is always there to save the day.

This ad was our overall winner for 2017, and it was such a standout that when we decided to spotlight the top campaigns from previous years, it was the first ad we thought to include. Seven years later, that’s certainly saying something.

So what makes this ad memorable? The captivating narrative and well-executed use of humour give “Insurance Confidence” its charm.

As we watch everyday people experience exaggerated stressful scenarios, NRMA’s character “Confidence” cleverly represents the peace of mind that insurance brings in these otherwise worrying situations. “Confidence” always appears right on time. You become familiar with the character and his purpose, leaving a lasting impact.

The Festive Feel-good Award

Winner

NRMA Insurance: Christmas Advert 2018 #DontDriveNaughty

NRMA Insurance makes another appearance in the round-up of our favourites with its Christmas Advert, which took out the Award for Best Issues-based Advertising in Insurance News’ 2018 Insurance Ad Oscars.

The ad focuses on road safety over the holiday season, encouraging drivers to slow down and turn off their mobile phones. It tells the story of a young girl who creatively uses her animated pink bunny toy to turn off her stressed dad’s phone while he drives.

The tagline “Don’t Drive Naughty, Drive Nice” is a clever link to the festive season, with NRMA Insurance focusing on this message – instead of pushing insurance – and the need to protect what matters most: family.

What we love about this ad is its creativity, with the pink bunny toy providing a light and engaging way to tackle a serious issue. It’s something we don’t see every day, especially in insurance advertising, and this different approach is what sets it apart. There’s no insurancespeak or talk of features and benefits. Just great storytelling that’s skilfully executed to pull at your heartstrings.

The A Star is Born Award

Winner

Budget Direct: Insurer of the Year

When you scatter confetti, there’s no forgetting about it. Days, weeks, or even months later, you’ll be finding it all over the place, long after you thought you cleaned up the last bit.

With a clever take on this common experience that many of us know all too well, Budget Direct’s “Insurer of the Year” campaign came out on top for Insurance News’ Best Product Focused Advertising category in 2018.

Right away, the ad tells viewers that Budget Direct won Insurer of the Year, with an office worker walking in after the party to see star confetti everywhere. From their keyboard to the coffee jar, they spend months cleaning up and finally get the last piece – only to find out they’ve won again. In other words, more confetti.

The ad’s simplicity in showcasing Budget Direct’s consecutive wins ensures a clear message. At the same time, its humorous storyline makes it an entertaining and engaging watch that keeps your attention from start to end. 

The Typical with A Twist Award

Winner

AAMI: Boomya

Taking home our Best Overall award in 2019, AAMI’s “Boomya” campaign is an engaging and humorous take on the typical insurance ad format, which shows when insurance can come in handy.

The ad features a couple giving their friend a tour of their new apartment, pointing out their valuables, which include a talking moose. Later that night, they return from a gig and discover they’ve been robbed. Fortunately, AAMI replaces their stolen valuables, including the talking moose, who sings their jingle.

While the scenario is very plausible at its core, the addition of a talking moose captures your attention and amps up the entertainment factor, making it more memorable.

When commenting on this ad in 2019, we had a critique of the lack of diversity. While AAMI’s model-esque call centre girls had become synonymous with their brand, we noted that seeing some diversity in the staff members of choice would be refreshing.

Flash forward to today, the “AAMI Comes to the Rescue at the 2023 Toyota AFL Grand Final” campaign, which was the winner of an Insurance Ad Oscars award this year, cast call centre girls of different nationalities. Reflecting on our feedback from just a few years ago, this was a welcome change, and it was encouraging to see this shift to greater diversity in their advertising.

Looking Ahead to What’s Next

With seven years of the Insurance Ad Oscars now behind us, we have a pretty good idea of what works and what tends to fall short.

The ads we’ve loved over the years are those that tell a captivating story and typically have a touch of humour to them, all while clearly and succinctly getting their message across.

While we’ve seen the same approaches work well time and again in the past, ad fatigue is kicking in. The most impactful and memorable ads are the ones that do something differently. With social media, influencers, memes, and a proliferation of different communication channels bombarding us all, standing out from the crowd matters.

We’ve been doing this for seven years. If we didn’t change things, even we would get tired of reading our own words. Ad fatigue is a real challenge for marketers.

In the highly regulated insurance industry, which sells a product consumers don’t receive immediately after purchase, it’s already a challenge for companies to promote themselves effectively.

In the coming years, it’s the insurance ads with a creative flare that aren’t afraid to try something new that will catch our eye and the eyes of their audience.

These fresh takes on insurance advertising will be the ones we look back on in another few years, talking about how much they nailed it.