Nationwide’s Football Season Starts and Ends with Advertising Fumbles

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New research from Phoenix Marketing International shows deflated performance for Nationwide’s ‘Peyton Hums’ ad relative to the brand’s other Q4 spots.

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Given the prominence of insurance advertising in the media landscape, consumers have developed an expectation that insurance ads will put forth some form of a product or service value proposition. When the ads don’t, they often leave consumers puzzled.

"While Nationwide wrapped up its football advertising season by landing in a maelstrom of consumer disapproval for its “The Boy Who Couldn’t Grow Up” Super Bowl ad, Phoenix Marketing International, a leading market research firm, has found that the large national insurer also kicked off the season with an ad that would have been better off sitting on the media sidelines due to its sub-optimal receptivity among consumers.

Over the course of the fourth quarter of 2014, Phoenix tested 51 national television commercials and 10 online display ads through its ongoing Auto and Home Insurance Brand & Advertising Audit. Phoenix evaluated each ad against its Insurance Ad Performance Indicator ("AdPi") Model, which predicts each commercial's ability to yield a positive response or action from consumers. While Phoenix found that most brands' AdPi Scores were clustered in a tight formation, Nationwide’s AdPi point spread was stretched considerably to the downside by their ‘Peyton Hums’ spot, their first-ever ad featuring Peyton Manning. Turning in a similarly out-of-character performance was State Farm’s ‘Trainers’ ad, featuring Aaron Rodgers and SNL’s “pumped up” duo, Hans and Franz.

Among the five Nationwide ads that Phoenix tested throughout Q4, four of them over-performed against the Q4 AdPi norm. However, relative to these four other Nationwide spots, ‘Peyton Hums’ turned in last place scores for every one of the 35 advertising and branding measures against which it was tested. From viewers’ perspectives, ‘Peyton Hums’ fell notably short on being Clever, Clear, Credible, Informative, and a Fit With The Brand.

“The sub-par performance of ‘Peyton Hums’ is due to a contextual disconnect,” says Megan Daniels, Vice President in Phoenix’s Communications & Brand Analytics practice. “Given the prominence of insurance advertising in the media landscape, consumers have developed an expectation that insurance ads will put forth some form of a product or service value proposition. When the ads don’t, they often leave consumers puzzled.”

The Q4 insurance television ads that demonstrated the greatest potential to yield a positive response or action from consumers came from Allstate, Farmers, Liberty Mutual, and USAA. These ads, which represented an array of funny, serious, and emotional approaches, performed exceptionally well on Phoenix’s measures for being Clear, Informative, Personally Relevant, and Reassuring.

“While each of the top performing TV commercials evaluated in our Audit told their story in a different way, they resonated with consumers because of the clarity and relevance of those stories,” says Daniels. “In the insurance category, ads that don’t convey relatable information often struggle, despite their potential to entertain or break through.”

Phoenix’s Auto and Home Insurance Brand & Advertising Audit surveys 1,800+ consumers each month regarding their perceptions of insurance brands, usage, shopping behavior, and response to advertising. Brands tracked include, but are not limited to, Allstate, American Family, Esurance, Farmers, GEICO, The General, The Hartford, Liberty Mutual, Nationwide, Progressive, State Farm, Travelers, and USAA.

About Phoenix Marketing International
Phoenix Marketing International is a premier global marketing services firm providing its clients with tailored, unique insight into their customers and markets via a wealth of existing proprietary data. Coupled with custom research products and the latest qualitative and quantitative techniques, Phoenix has extensive research experience across the Automotive, Financial Services, Healthcare, Converged Technology and Media, Restaurant, and Travel/Leisure sectors. From the strategic definition of consumer needs to effective marketing program implementation, PMI provides profit-driven market solutions and is committed to maximizing a client’s Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) by leveraging the ability to attract and retain new business through cost efficient data acquisition and statistical modeling techniques. Founded in 1999 by Chairman and CEO, Allen R. DeCotiis and President, Martha Rea, Phoenix Marketing International has established its global presence with offices in major locations such as New York, New Jersey, Boston, Philadelphia, Raleigh/Durham, Detroit, and London.

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Kristin Johnson
Phoenix Marketing International
+1 845-876-8228 Ext: 308
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