Insurer uses killed-off TV characters to promote life insurance

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Social media integration, pet fashion and crime series cameos by corpses were among the inventive approaches employed by insurance brands at Spikes Asia 2023.

This collection of work shows how this sector used creativity to underpin long-term strategy or encourage behavioural change.

New Zealand insurer Partners Life created a campaign that used killed-off characters from a TV show to convince people to take out life insurance.

The ads from The Last Performance campaign aired at the end of each episode of The Brokenwood Mysteries, before the credits rolled.

Each episode of the show usually involves a death, and Partners Life got the actors whose characters died to reprise their role, playing reanimated corpses with strong opinions on life insurance.

For example, at the close of the first episode of the eighth series, a 30-second spot aired before the credits appeared, featuring actor Meryl Main. Main played Janis, the first murder victim of the series.

But before the episode ends, Janis’s corpse comes back to life and she looks down the camera lens, saying, ‘Well this is unexpected. What are my boys going to do without their mummy now? Sorry lads, there’s no life insurance policy.’

The ad ends by urging viewers to plan for their future with Partners Life. Throughout the rest of the six-part series, similar bespoke films advertising Partners Life aired at the end of each episode.

Lisa Fedyszyn, executive creative director at Special New Zealand, the agency behind the campaign, said in a statement, ‘Partners Life is always challenging industry norms and taking an innovative approach to everything they do. And their approach to advertising is no different.

This is an idea that died and came back to life, about characters who die and come back to life, but it was important to find the right series to partner with.’

The campaign ran over a six-week period from 7 August 2022 to 11 September 2022 and content was kept live across on-demand until the end of the year.

Results / According to the agency, Partners Life’ website saw a 135% increase in traffic over the campaign period and the campaign generated a 75% increase in direct leads to its financial advisors and a 26% increase in brand awareness.

New Zealand’s leading newspaper called it, ‘‘A clever example of how brands are using television more creatively.” Lance Hopkins, Head of Integration at TVNZ called it “A brilliant example of integrating brands around the TV platform.”

And someone who believed it was part of the show complained to the Advertising Standards Association complainant saying, “I felt I had been tricked into watching this advertisement.” This claim was dismissed.

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