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1. AWARD FOR BEST USE OF HUMOUR in order to entertain audiences rather than pitch to them. The key to funny advertising is making sure the humour is appropriate to the company, the product and the customer. In insurance especially, there is no tangible product to advertise, and humour can be an extremely effective marketing tool to emphasise the concept of insurance.

Criteria: Awarded to the ad that applies humour in a way that catches the viewer’s attention and delivers the message. The most memorable ad campaigns are often the funny ones. Humour has long been used as an effective way to communicate and overcome any objections or perceptions. Marketers use this strategy to attract customers to their product

t The winner: AAMI’s “Woop Woop – Roadside Assist”

t Runner-up: NRMA Insurance’s “Betty”

Campaign: Not Very Insurancey.

Campaign: Insurance Confidence

Description: Amy from AAMI comes to the rescue of a family whose car has broken down in the middle of Woop Woop – specifically just up from “Ship’s Creek”. In order to be effective, the balance between funny and obnoxious has to be spot on. This AAMI ad pushes boundaries with a tight script and creative that skirts controversy through perceived bad language. But this is what makes it so entertaining. At the same time the ad articulates a benefit of being with AAMI, by highlighting the company’s roadside assist services.

Description: When a kindly but oblivious female senior citizen knocks over a series of motorbikes, “Confidence” comes to the rescue with online insurance. NRMA Insurance keeps the storyline simple, using an extreme situation to humorous effect and demonstrating an incident in which insurance will come in handy. Humour in advertising improves brand recognition, but it doesn’t always improve product recall, message credibility, or buying intentions. Consumers may be familiar with the NRMA Insurance brand through this ad, but it is unlikely that this communication significantly would change their purchasing behaviour or decision.

What we love about it: The script for this ad is really well written, combining popular and vernacular language while still showing a key consumer benefit. It leverages “family values” and connects with traditional Australian culture, which helps the audience relate to the characters and storyline. What could be improved: The campaign tries to set itself apart with the tagline “Not very insurancey”, which is presumably an attempt to speak to the public’s view about insurance companies. However, self-deprecation like this works against the industry as a whole. It supports an inaccurate stereotype and risks demeaning what insurance companies do. You wouldn’t find Apple saying that users need to spend more than $1000 on an iPhone that breaks even more easily than its previous versions. Unfortunately, the use of language in this advert earned them some trouble with the Advertising Standards Bureau. Although the complaints were ultimately dismissed, some viewers were offended by the content.

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What we love about it: The ad is light-hearted, which will leave the audience with a positive feeling, rather than weighing them down with negative motivators such as fear. The “Confidence” character is used throughout the company’s ads, creating consistency in the messaging which is more memorable to the audience. What could be improved: The ad focuses on an extreme rather than a reality – old ladies don’t often drive recreational vehicles, never mind reverse one into a line of motorbikes. Comedy can sometimes offend people, and this ad stereotypes old people as being more likely to cause a road accident – which simply isn’t true.

December 2017/January 2018

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