Do those annoying car insurance gimmicks really work?

sportage

Lifer
Feb 1, 2008
11,493
3,155
136
I'm talking those idiotic TV ads.
Are people really motivated to buy car insurance because of a lizard, or an ostrich, or an obnoxious lady dressed in white, or from some cartoon character, or.... any of the many other gimmicks put out there in car insurance land?
Car insurance companies rely heavily on those idiotic gimmicks of weird little animals or cartoon characters or dingbat obnoxious TV salespersons. Does that really work? Is anyone persuaded to buy car insurance because of a lizard? Or because of an ostrich? I don't understand why a simple straight forward ad promoting car insurance would not be sufficient. Why do they need to devise some gimmick to target ten year olds? And we all know that ten year old kids seldom drive a car, as a rule. But on the other hand, if your ten year old is driving then you would probably need insurance. Is that what I'm missing here? If Ford Motors were advertising their cars driven by a duck or a rabbit or a lizard wearing a NASCAR hat, would that persuade more people to buy that Ford Motors car?

Ok, I know, I know, insurance companies can sell their product any which way they want, but does cute or annoyance really sell car insurance....or anything? I seem to remember when the name of the insurance company itself held weight and dignity. People trusted names like State Farm or All State. I don't see the need for a lizard, or an ostrich, or some I Love Lucy Ricardo wannabe dressed in white to sell them car insurance. It turns me off, and my knee jerk reaction to any company that pulls this stunt would be a joke and not a reputable company to do business with. Especially when other than paying your premium, the only interaction people have with their car insurance company is after a tragedy. A car wreck, a theft, a break-in, a hit and run, or after grandma went thru the windshield during a head on collision. I doubt people think of an ostrich or a lizard or Lucy Ricardo when grandma is laying motionless on the pavement. I don't know... maybe its me.... but I have seen several car accidents from time to time, and never once did a lizard come to mind. :rolleyes: ;)
 
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Zeze

Lifer
Mar 4, 2011
11,023
951
126
Have you taken marketing 101?

90% of consumers will buy something simply because they are aware of such brand. Geico ads have been KILLING it by making effective ads. Also national ads = "wow they must be big and established, I'll try them."

Hell, even I can recite the.. "15 min phone call can save you 15% or more on car insurance."
 

brianmanahan

Lifer
Sep 2, 2006
24,023
5,452
136
personal auto is a commodity

just getting people to remember your company name when they're going to do a quote online is half the battle
 
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pete6032

Diamond Member
Dec 3, 2010
7,275
2,848
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personal auto is a commodity

just getting people to remember your company name when they're going to do a quote online is half the battle
Exactly. Nothing sexy about car insurance so they have to be creative about getting your attention.
 

snoopy7548

Diamond Member
Jan 1, 2005
8,012
4,992
146
TV is mindless crap. You can bet people will pay attention to a lizard selling car insurance in-between doses of Teen Mom and Toddlers & Tiaras.
 

Exterous

Super Moderator
Jun 20, 2006
20,272
3,273
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Inertia is a bitch. Most people probably are happy to slowly pay more and more unless jolted into thinking they can save money by making a phone call
 
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Nov 8, 2012
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It's probably irrational thinking on my part - but when it comes to things like insurance the last thing I really want is some no-name local car insurance.

At the end of the day, you're financially dependent upon them to pay up if and when something major happens to you. Do you want a company with deep pockets, or someone that is going to be stingy on everything and likely have a limited supply of payout money?

Needless to say - I still check my rates with all the major ones - Progressive, State Farm, Geico, Liberty Mutual, etc... I tend to switch every 12-18 months until my current provider inevitably raises my rates for no reason other than "I don't think you'll switch" game.
 

dullard

Elite Member
May 21, 2001
24,723
3,017
126
People trusted names like State Farm or All State.
I neither work on a farm nor for the state. These names never made any sense to me. And I'm too lazy to Google the history of those names.
 

brianmanahan

Lifer
Sep 2, 2006
24,023
5,452
136
I neither work on a farm nor for the state. These names never made any sense to me. And I'm too lazy to Google the history of those names.

when many insurance companies in the US started, their only product was agriculture-related insurance

and every state has vastly different insurance laws and limit requirements and rate restrictions. it's such a pain.
 

BoomerD

No Lifer
Feb 26, 2006
62,082
10,262
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GEICO = Government Employees Insurance Company...a nice pension plan money maker...or it did until Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway bought them....
 

Doom Monger

Member
Jun 15, 2020
25
18
41
I'd tell you how ridiculous this thread is, but I'm currently having breakfast, a bowl of cereal that has a tiger on the box. Maybe after my lunch of a chicken sandwich advertised by a cow with a pickle that a stork told me to buy I'll have more time. Gotta be quick though, I'm packing to fly off to a hotel that a mouse told me was good.

This your first day on Earth spaceman? You never would have even heard of GEICO without lizards and cavemen, so yeah, it works. If you were batshit insane enough to go live in a tent in the woods you'd be sure to have a flashlight filled with batteries advertised by a pink bunny.
 
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BurnItDwn

Lifer
Oct 10, 1999
25,999
1,484
126
it must be Eagle Man.
<eagle man lays egg>
Look at those low rates.

Not sure if ANYBODY ever signed up for that insurance company, though anybody who was alive in the US in the late 80s likely knows the commercial.
 

BoomerD

No Lifer
Feb 26, 2006
62,082
10,262
136
it must be Eagle Man.
<eagle man lays egg>
Look at those low rates.

Not sure if ANYBODY ever signed up for that insurance company, though anybody who was alive in the US in the late 80s likely knows the commercial.

I don't remember the eagle man...but The General!
 

zinfamous

No Lifer
Jul 12, 2006
110,207
28,591
146
Have you taken marketing 101?

90% of consumers will buy something simply because they are aware of such brand. Geico ads have been KILLING it by making effective ads. Also national ads = "wow they must be big and established, I'll try them."

Hell, even I can recite the.. "15 min phone call can save you 15% or more on car insurance."

right.

No one actually learns anything from ads other than the name of the company = this product or service. So it sticks in your brain and you're more inclined to consider them before any other competitor. it ends up becoming a very short list when these handful of companies are spending trillions just to plant their names in your brain above the others.
 

zinfamous

No Lifer
Jul 12, 2006
110,207
28,591
146
It's probably irrational thinking on my part - but when it comes to things like insurance the last thing I really want is some no-name local car insurance.

At the end of the day, you're financially dependent upon them to pay up if and when something major happens to you. Do you want a company with deep pockets, or someone that is going to be stingy on everything and likely have a limited supply of payout money?

Needless to say - I still check my rates with all the major ones - Progressive, State Farm, Geico, Liberty Mutual, etc... I tend to switch every 12-18 months until my current provider inevitably raises my rates for no reason other than "I don't think you'll switch" game.

The flip side for me, though, is that I look at the big ones that have a massive advertising budget, and wonder if they actually have a budget to provide the service that they advertise. :D

...I know they are kind of related, because more advertising = more clients = more money for insurance pool....but I still think they are more concerned with spending the bulk of any new cash on yet more advertising; oh and of course the teams of lawyers that they always deploy to literally fight the claims that their customers make to gain access to the services that they paid for and were promised....
 

dullard

Elite Member
May 21, 2001
24,723
3,017
126
The flip side for me, though, is that I look at the big ones that have a massive advertising budget, and wonder if they actually have a budget to provide the service that they advertise. :D
Doesn't the use of reinsurance invalidate those types of concerns?

Assuming the insurance company you choose has reasonable reinsurance, they can pay out--regardless of how much they do or do not spend on ads.
 

pmv

Lifer
May 30, 2008
12,505
7,401
136
I wonder if the use of such gimmicks is because so many products are decidedly abstract these days? So you need a concrete motif or mascot - however tenuously-related to the actual product - in order to give potential customers something to remember?

I'm not familiar with the ads and products the OP refers to, but over here there are things like the infamous Compare-the-Market 'Meerkat' (I say infamous because someone once accused it of being racist because of the character's generic "East European-stroke-Russian" accent). Lots of web-based businesses seem to go that route, inventing a weird animal 'character' to personify the brand (with that Meerkat, they managed to spin off a side-line product by turning it into a successful children's stuffed toy animal!).

I reckon it's because for internet businesses (most of which are pretty-much interchangeable) the absolutely crucial thing is that a customer should have their name/brand pop into their mind, when sat at the PC with the intention of searching for that particular service. You need a memorable image that will lead to a suitable search term and lead them to your website.
 

pmv

Lifer
May 30, 2008
12,505
7,401
136
PS I resent the amount of my brain-space that is taken up by remembering advertising jingles. I can still recall some from my childhood. Some of which are for companies and products that don't even exist any more. What a waste of neurons!
 

JEDI

Lifer
Sep 25, 2001
30,016
3,141
126
Needless to say - I still check my rates with all the major ones - Progressive, State Farm, Geico, Liberty Mutual, etc... I tend to switch every 12-18 months until my current provider inevitably raises my rates for no reason other than "I don't think you'll switch" game.
being doing that for years but i just call 2 diff ones instead of the whole list each year.
i have Traveler's.
no other insurance company could beat their combo pricing (home/auto/umbrella).
 

snoopy7548

Diamond Member
Jan 1, 2005
8,012
4,992
146
PS I resent the amount of my brain-space that is taken up by remembering advertising jingles. I can still recall some from my childhood. Some of which are for companies and products that don't even exist any more. What a waste of neurons!

*neutrons.
 

Captante

Lifer
Oct 20, 2003
29,996
10,508
136
Not for me ... I choose car insurance based on these:

(1) rates

(2) claim service


Of course I also dumped cable several years ago, use ad-free streaming and an aggressive ad-blocking plugin ... except for maybe watching an old "Mayhem" ad on Youtube I haven't seen a an actual TV ad for insurance in a LONG time!