Liberty Mutual reboots advertising with unlikely couple
Insurance companies advertise heavily. Every day, you will probably hear more than one of their commercials.
You must remember one with Flo with her scary pricing gun. How about the polite gecko who always keeps his cool? You have seen so many you think you know a thing or two about insurance ads, and I just managed to sneak another half tagline from an insurance commercial into this paragraph with that!
Liberty Mutual was arguably falling behind their competition as far as advertising is concerned. Their campaigns were lacking creative content with a strong appeal and customer experience was fragmented. They struggled to be memorable. It was time to change course.
But how does a company stand out in this crowded space? How does it increase brand awareness to make sure it’s remembered?
Liberty Mutual’s LiMu Emu and Doug campaign is an attempt to throw every classic and modern advertising component at the wall in the hope that one will stick.
They cover the bases with traditional elements. A jingle simply repeating the company name should take care of those with a short memory and an ear for catchy tunes. The “Only pay for what you need” tag line is sufficiently short and to-the-point. It is trying to position the company as an affordable one, although it is hardly alone in the crowd with that claim.
LiMu and Doug add strong characters and humor to the mix to create some modern appeal. LiMu is not very clever, but, according to the company’s brand guidelines, “what he lacks in skills, he more than makes up for with his catchy, rhyming, brand-recall-inducing name”. The image of a big, mean, flightless bird is a strong visual cue that is easy to recall. Since there are not that many species like that, if the customer remembers the right species they are instantly half way there to the company name.
The main source of humor is how Doug constantly misinterprets situations and overestimates his partner’s capacity. People’s sense of humor can be very different, though, so this became the most disputed part of the campaign.
The company took the campaign to digital media, too, in order to reach Gen Zs.
Their following grew by 1,600% and they had the best engagement rates in their category thanks to regular updates keeping up with trends and daily news.
I am not sure if the campaign really stands out in the crowd, but it surely works for me. I find the musical and visual references to the 1980s quite entertaining. I generally like the humor, too. I cannot possibly forget an emu in uniform and shades. It usually takes longer than I wish to get the “LiMu Emu” chorus line or the “Liberty, liberty, liberty… Liberty” jingle out of my head once a TV ad plants it in there. Chances are, next time I need insurance LiMu will come to my mind one way or another.