Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Real Emotional Connection In 60 Seconds: Liberty Mutual
By Cory Treffiletti Television is typically referred to as the strongest medium for brand development because video offers the triple threat of sight, sound and motion, but what's truly most important is how a brand uses these three components to create an emotional connection.
That's never an easy task; but the most recent Liberty Mutual insurance ads might be the best example of an effective emotional connection in a campaign that I've seen in a long time. The company uses TV to develop that connection and the Web as a support vehicle to cement the story in an effective way. If you're creating an integrated campaign and you want an example of how to do it right, this is where you should be starting to look.
In case you haven't seen these spots, start by checking them out on YouTube or over at the Liberty Mutual site. I don't know who works on this campaign -- I have no connection whatsoever to them -- but when I see a marketing effort as strong as this, it has to be called out.
The effort tugs at the emotions of the viewer by tapping into the challenges facing every American family these days as a result of the economy, demonstrating the strength and perseverance of ordinary people in a real, down-to-earth manner.
I recommend you watch "The Marlowes" or "Dinner." These spots describe the impact of the economic crisis on the average American family and end with the line, "Doing the right thing says a lot about a person... and a company," then point the viewer to ResponsibilityProject.com. The Web site provides a deeper opportunity to achieve and extend this emotional connection by providing films, a blog and user-initiated real-life stories that demonstrate what real people can do when they take responsibility and help others.
The economy has been the top story for many months now and most brands have reacted by focusing on a price-related message. There are sales and discounts and coupons galore as consumers tighten their belts and focus on saving money rather than over-extending and relying on credit.
But the Liberty Mutual campaign taps into a related, but different issue: the way most Americans are frustrated by the irresponsible way that Wall Street and big business have handled the economic crisis. Liberty Mutual was able to harness this feeling into consideration for their brand as a solution for the future. The spots also do an effective job of not placing all the blame on big business, but creating an implied accountability for viewers themselves. The viewers may be feeling upset at their own past actions, but the implication is that if you take responsibility now, you can start to work towards a solution. This is fundamentally a powerful message of hope rather than a message of blame, and hope is what drives the resolve for improvement in every one of us.
There is an old strategy referred to as FUD: fear, uncertainty and doubt. Tapping into any of these three emotions can work, but they can also be detrimental to a brand through association. This campaign takes the higher road and looks at hope, promise and responsibility as a tool for success. I applaud Liberty Mutual for doing this.
The integration of TV and Internet is actually becoming commonplace and this campaign does it well, but the emotional connection of the effort is what had me interested from the first time I saw them. Creating that bond is difficult and it's even harder to do in just 60 seconds. It's a case study to watch and I hope you get the chance to review it in detail.
What other efforts have you been seeing as of late that create that kind of connection between the viewer and a brand?
This commentary is insightful. I recommend it to others.
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Cory is president and managing partner for Catalyst SF.
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