Welcome to the Marketing in the Wild podcast. I’m Julia from Stratos Creative Marketing, where we are obsessed with finding real-life examples of the good, the bad, and sometimes wild, in marketing.
Today’s Marketing in the Wild is a feature on Liberty Mutual’s insurance and their newest commercials. The reason I even came across these commercials is because recently, we became members of Peacock, which is one of the digital streaming devices, but we did not pay for the ads-free membership. Every time we watch commercials come up, my husband groans and I am glued to the TV. I think part of it is because as a marketer, for one, I’m just interested in seeing what is going on in commercials. The other thing that is interesting to me is to see what’s working, what’s not working. Random side note, we’ve also started getting commercials in Spanish, which is because our nanny, who watches Maddie during the day, is googling and surfing the internet on her phone in Spanish. And so whatever AI is working behind the scenes to get our commercials in Spanish, it just makes me smile. It doesn’t bother me at all. As somebody who knows Spanish, I get to watch it. Roger gets to figure out whether he’s understanding it or not. Kind of makes it more fun.
Anyway, Liberty Mutual has this new ad series. It’s probably been out for a while now, but I just came across one of their newest ads, and I was fascinated by it, and then I went down this rabbit hole or rabbit trail. Either way, I went into this researching mode, and found a whole slew of these Liberty Mutual ads. They all start with this statement, “Research says if we X, Y, Z in our marketing, you’ll remember that Liberty Mutual protects your home”, or whatever they’re gonna sell you. And so it’s a fascinating setup because every episode says, research says if we use this technique in our marketing, you’re gonna remember it more. And so some of them I was like, well, that’s obvious. But others, I was like, is that true? And so I actually went down this nerdy path to figure out if all of the research that they were talking about is true.
So if you wanna see the individual Liberty Mutual commercials, I would highly recommend it, they’ll all be in the show notes. There are gonna be tons of resources for you on this episode in the show notes. If you need a link, that’s where you’re gonna find it. The first one is repetition. In this ad, what they start with is they start with a woman who says, “Research shows if we use repetition, you’ll remember our marketing.” And then they slowly break her out into two talking heads, and then four talking heads, 16 talking heads, and they slowly fill up the screen, and she’s saying the same sentence over and over and over and over again. This is a pretty common marketing tenant. You should be repeating yourself. Some people will say seven times, some people say 12 times. They’ll say, people have to hear your message 12 times before they take action. I don’t totally know where those numbers come from. I researched it, but couldn’t find any tangible proof. So if you have something, send it my way.
But why? Why does repetition work? Repetition works because it helps with brand awareness. This can be both in the visual and the messaging. So if you see somebody’s logo over and over and over again, you’re gonna start recognizing it. If it’s in the messaging, you’re gonna start being able to repeat said messaging, or you’re gonna start internalizing the messaging. The goal is to be in as many places as you can. So even with this, even if you’re not repeating your same message in the same spot, the more places you can be, the better. So that might be social media, billboards, radio ads. If you are a little bit everywhere, then people are gonna be more likely to remember you. The only danger with this is repetition fatigue. We’ve all been there where we’ve seen the same commercial over and over and over again. That is part of what I love about Liberty’s ads right now, is that it is almost the same script every time in all of these commercials. I think we’re gonna go through six of them right now. But they each are saying the same message, but because there are different ways of saying the message, they don’t get boring. I personally could watch them all day, but that is because I am who I am.
Another really fun example of repetition is slogans. We don’t necessarily think about them, but they have been repeated so much that we know who they belong to. I’m gonna give you some of my favorite ones. And don’t worry, I’ve got the answers at the end, so you can quiz yourself on whether you know it. The first one is just do it. Next one, you’re in good hands. What’s in your wallet? Snap, Crackle, Pop. Last one, bet you can’t eat just one. Those are some slogans. At the end, you can see if you’ve got them right. But even slogans are an example of repetition. We see these phrases, just do it, if you know where it’s from, you see it on billboards, you see it on gym bags, you see it on t-shirts, you see it on a whole bunch of different things, and we know who that belongs to now.
The next principle from Liberty Mutual’s ads was young people having a good time. They say, “Research shows if we show you young people having a good time, you’re more likely to remember X, Y, Z.” There’s not tangible evidence that it is young people having a good time that makes us remember things, but I thought this was an interesting use of marketing. What I think is working is that it is showing success. We’re showing the success of these young people having a great time knowing that whatever they needed insured is insured. I also think it’s really interesting that they chose young people having a good time rather than people having a good time. These young people were probably older, gen Z, younger millennial aged in the advertisement in the commercial. And so, I think part of it is Liberty Mutual is probably also targeting a younger generation. They don’t want to show, hey, we are showing families having a good time. They could have, but maybe what they are wanting is to show young people having a good time, showing them some success, this is what your life could be like if you work with us, and we wanna target those young people because they are a new audience.
A good example of this is recently while I was in Florida, we went to what’s called a Carillon. The Carillon is at Bok Tower Gardens. If you don’t know anything about it, just google it. It’s gorgeous. It’s a bunch of these botanical gardens, and in the middle is this ginormous bell tower. I don’t know how many stories high it is, but it is very tall, and in it, there are hundreds of bells. And so, one person is playing these bells, he’s got a whole mechanism to make them ring. The smallest bell is 12 pounds, the biggest bell is a ton or two, and so he’s pressing on these pedals to make them go. Anyway, that’s what the Carillon is. Well, he did a set, and it’s mostly hymns, older songs, my body lying over the ocean, different things that are recognizable, but definitely older songs. So after his set, he came out to talk to the audience, and he was telling us that his marketing department has asked him to arrange a Taylor Swift song arrangement to attract the younger crowd. He didn’t say that right off the bat, but all of the older people, because I will admit, most of the people who are at this event were older, all of them were like, “Taylor Swift?” Some people were like, “Who is Taylor Swift?” Which is a problem in itself. But anyway, they were all shocked that he was asked to arrange some Taylor Swift songs for the Bells. And I was like, “Well, duh, they wanna get more young people in here.” And if Taylor Swift is how they’re gonna do it, that is what they’re gonna try.
And so, I think that that’s part of it, is like, yes, Liberty is right, young people having a good time is gonna help them remember the ad, but specifically, if you’re a young person who needs insurance, you’re gonna be more likely to remember seeing peers have a good time because of Liberty Mutual. And so, that’s part of it, is it’s both showing success and targeting a younger generation, just the Carillon is with their bell songs from Taylor Swift.
So far, we’ve gone through repetition and young people. The next one was a catchy song. One of my favorite things are jingles. I feel like this whole episode is an inside view of how my brain thinks. Anyway, it is not uncommon for somebody in my family to break out into a jingle in the middle of a meal. So if we’re talking about a particular brand, and they have a jingle, we might sing it. The reason that jingles work, and jingles are the catchy songs that go with products. I have some coming up. Jingles are usually unique and identifiable, and when combined with repetition, which was one of our earlier principles, they work just as well. And it’s actually a thing. If you think about how many song lyrics you know, our brains work in a way that melody, and harmony, and this musical note, most of our brains work that if we hear it in a song, we’re more likely to remember it altogether. It makes it easy to recall, and then it also makes it easy to tell others. So just like my family, we’ll sit around talking about jingles that we love, or even it’s really fun when we’re with an older generation of my family because they’ll talk about jingles that I have never heard, but then they have all heard. It’s honestly one of my favorite pastimes, probably, which is so embarrassing.
Anyway, I am not a singer, but I am going to sing you a couple jingles. The answers will be at the end, but you’ll notice that most of you will probably get them. So the first one, here it goes. Oh gosh! Forgive me if it sounds terrible. Give me a break, give me a break, give me a break of that. I’m not gonna say the rest of it or else it will tell you what it is. This next one, I’m gonna be honest, I just had to listen to it because I butchered it the first time around. So here it goes, the best part of waking up is, do you know the rest of it? Hopefully that was enough to tell you. It’s a little bit of an older one. Another one is, every kiss begins with K, which is part of the title. But we loved that one as kids because my mom’s name is Kay, and we just thought it was hilarious that it really meant my dad should be kissing her. And then the last one, 5, $5, $5 foot long. I might not have hit that last note right, but hopefully, you get the idea. Either way, these are four different jingles that I grew up with, and that I enjoy. Hopefully you guys got them. But that’s the thing guys, is that if you did, that is exactly why catchy songs worked. Liberty Mutual was right, catchy songs work because they help us remember things. And when you pair them with repetition, you’re golden!
Guys, I hate to interrupt this podcast, but I wanna share a quick message about a resource we have here at Stratos for you.
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We have two more things that I learned in terms of principles. We have nostalgia and people doing exciting stunts. We’re gonna start with nostalgia, and there’s two versions of this one. So they start again, Liberty Mutual is saying, “Research shows that if we use nostalgia in our marketing, you’ll remember this ad better.” There’s actually three versions of this. The first one is an old family video, and a kid opens up a box that has Liberty Mutual, and he’s so excited. Guys, if you have old family videos, that’s what the screen looks like. He’s unwrapping this box, and it looks like it was just set up perfectly. The second one was a TV cart. I don’t know if you remember being in school when they had TV carts rolling around, but that was in the other nostalgia one. The last one was in fact my favorite. They used a slap bracelet. If you were a girl in the 90s, you had one, just like I did, and those were the three nostalgia pieces. And so I researched this, I was like, it makes sense that it works, but why does it work? And so I found some really great articles. The reason that nostalgia works in marketing is because it taps into this positive, a familiar concept from decades or from life lived before.
And so what’s interesting about this is by tapping into those emotional roots, emotional positive, familiar concepts, you’re building trust with your audience. So in a way, you’re saying, “Hey, we were both there. We were both there, so you can trust me. But it can also reinvigorate your new marketing. And so we’ve seen this a lot, and actually it’s a thing now where people will say, “Only kids in the 90s will understand.” And for whatever reason, these 90s babies, myself included, these millennials, we love nostalgia. And so many things are circling back now. Like the Perler beads, the kitten caboodles, I think that’s what it’s called. I can’t remember. Even the new Barbie movie, things like these are coming out. One of my favorite examples of this is a few years, maybe five years ago when Toy Story 4 came out, I was like, this is nostalgia marketing, because you better believe, all of us who grew up with those Toy Story movies went to the movie theater, whether or not we had kids. Plus it still served all the kids.
And so, by saying things like this, only kids born in the 90s will understand, it makes our generation feel this special intimate cohort that’s united by longing for the old times. It obviously can work with other generations, it just is a phenomenon that’s happening right now with 90s kids, and it taps into these positive emotions. And so if you are marketing to boomers, that might be something to think about. Probably don’t wanna use nostalgia yet for Gen Z, or the newer generations, but especially some of these people who’ve been around a while. This is why things like using the 80s to do marketing, that works, because people have these positive associations with those eras, and they love them.
The last one is also a little bit of a reach, when I was researching it. Back to Liberty’s model, Liberty Mutual is saying, “Hey, research shows that if we use people doing exciting stunts in a marketing, you’re more likely to remember it.” And so I went through this, and I was like, what are we talking about in terms of stunts? Because there is such a thing as stunt marketing, and that’s what I’m gonna talk about. But before I get to that, I do think in this case, they had somebody doing a motorcycle jump or something like that. I do think that there’s something to be said, if you do something crazy, people are going to ask other people, “Hey, did you see this commercial where so-and-so did this?” I think that’s the case. But when you think about the actual term, “stunt marketing”, which I’ll explain in a second, it’s also people talking about things. It’s a PR or marketing stunt, it’s basically a planned event engineered to capture as much attention as possible in the media, specifically in your target market, but also it could be a more public appearance as well.
And so oftentimes in PR and marketing, public relations and marketing, stunt marketing might be treated as a dirty word. And that, I was reading, was because sometimes companies will use stunt marketing to try to get public approval, but it’s actually an empty gesture. And so it has to be used very carefully. But either way, whether you’re thinking about stunts as in like, “Oh, I’m gonna drive a motorcycle over something, and then people will talk about it in my commercial”, or, “I’m gonna do it in the commercial and then people will talk about it”, or whether you’re talking about true stunt marketing where you’re doing this planned, engineered event, both are things that people talk about, and I think that that’s why they work. This was honestly one of my favorite things to research because there are some crazy things that people have done to try to get attention in the media.
Here’s one. And some of these, you might remember, some of these, you might not. There’s links in the show notes if you wanna see some pictures. The first one, KFC, created a logo that could be seen from space. And so they wanted to create the first advertisement that could be seen from space. And while nobody would ever actually see the ad in person, it made its way onto Google Maps and then on several blogs. And so they got a field, did what they needed to do, and you can see it from space and there are pictures. One of the things that I read about why this worked is because, remember how we talked about repetition fatigue, sometimes brands that are so old like KFC, suffer from fatigue, and they have a hard time staying top of mind, especially in a consumer market where now Chick-fil-A is a big contender, it’s having a harder and harder time. And so something this outrageous got press coverage, and so it reaffirmed that KFC was a fixture in the fast food world, and their whole messaging was that they wanted to show that their fried chicken is the best wherever in the galaxy you are.
Here’s another one. This happened just a year, maybe two ago. Adidas did a commercial or a billboard where they had 25 women that were bare chested on it. The whole idea behind it was to promote their new sports bra collection. But it was interesting. They put this ad on Twitter, billboards, Instagram. They did blur out things, and the whole idea was that they wanted to show how diverse breasts are in different shapes, sizes, and that’s why they created this very supportive, tailored new sports bra. It was fascinating because people had very mixed reactions. Some people in a body positivity space were like, “This is awesome.” Other people were like, “Hey, this is nudity. Do we really want this out in the world this visible?” It was really, really fascinating. And so I’d be curious to see how it worked for them for their bottom line. But again, if we’re talking about planned event engineered things, engineered events to capture attention, it certainly did that.
Another example is Netflix when they released the new Gilmore Girls season, the revival, they did Luke’s Diner pop-ups in different ways, they gave out free coffee, they even included a sign that said, “No cell phones”, which if you’re a Gilmore Girl fan, you know how important that was to Luke Steiner, and how against technology he is, and lines of fans stretched for blocks. And so that was a really cool way to feature their new show that was coming out. A few others that are just totally random, I’m not gonna share the whole story, but LifeLock, which is a company that helps protect your information, their CEO advertised his social security number on ads, saying that his service was supposed to keep it safe and make the data useless to a criminal. Unfortunately, it did not work. His identity was stolen 13 times, which I just think is ironic.
This one’s a little bit weird and gross. But in Brazil, they created a poop emoji ice cream. I believe it was in a Burger King or a McDonald’s. They wanted to feature the fact that they had changed some of their ingredients to being healthier. The CEO or the representative said, “Hey, it may look like crap on the outside, but it is good on the inside.” So that is where the poop emoji ice cream came from.
Mattel painted an entire street pink once when they wanted to feature some product launches, movie launches. Taco Bell, “bought” the Liberty Bell on Twitter. They said that they bought it. They didn’t actually buy it. And they were going to rename it to, I believe, the Taco Bell Liberty Bell or something that. People were up in arms calling the National Park Service, protesting. It was all an April Fool’s joke aptly timed for April 1st. Lastly, the Blair Witch Project. The movie did not have a big budget, and so they were a little bit worried about the promotions. And so in 1999, before the movie was released, they released obituaries, a fake documentary and Gorilla Marketing faking their actor’s death. The movie went on to make $250 million, which was not bad for an original budget of $60,000. They even listed the actors on IMDB, the movie database, as missing, presumed dead. And so even that was stunt marketing engineered specifically to raise more brand awareness for the movie.
Those are some of my favorite, most interesting stunt marketing examples. I’d be curious if you remember any of them. I’m not gonna lie, I don’t remember a lot of them happening in the moment, but that’s also probably because I was in a different country for most of my childhood. But that’s a story for a different day. You might remember some of them or maybe you’ve remembered some other things that actually you’re like, “Oh, looking back, that was stunted marketing designed specifically to get public commentary.”
So here we are. Liberty Mutual has taught me a lot about marketing. Hopefully, it’s taught you a little bit about marketing. Here are the things that work, and research shows that they work, which is awesome. Repetition. Repeat as much as you can; visually, messaging-wise, young people having a good time, show success, especially if you’re targeting that younger generation. Show people in the success. Or actually, I should say, even if you’re targeting your older generation, pick people that are gonna show success in your advertisements. Catchy songs. Those are also important. If you can combine a jingle and repetition, that’s gonna do you a whole lot of good, and we all know that we can remember those, and they’re easy to tell others. Nostalgia, bringing back some of these old familiar, warm, emotional feelings into your marketing.
Finally, people doing exciting stunts. So whether that’s an actual literal stunt, which, let’s be honest, Red Bull is always a great example of that. Their stunt marketing is actually doing stunts ironically, but then there’s also just stunt marketing, creating engineered marketing campaigns or engineered initiatives that are gonna bring public comment to your doorstep.
I hope this is helpful. Obviously, you don’t have to start using all of these right away. We’ve started kind of figuring out, hey, what sort of nostalgia do we want in our marketing? That’s one place that we’ve started. I’m gonna tell you, I’m not doing a jingle. I already sang for you and you know how well that went. But we are looking at some of these things, what could we do that would be different? What can we experiment with, and what are some of these research based strategies that we could use? Before I leave you, I promised you some answers for the slogans and jingles. For the slogans, just do it, Nike. You’re in good hands, Allstate. What’s in your wallet? Capital One. Snap, Crackle, Pop, Rice Krispies. Bet you can’t eat just one, Lays.
For jingles, I will not sing them for you again, but, give me a break, give me a break, give me a break of that, Kit Kat bar. Folgers is the best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup. Every kiss begins with K, is Kay Jewelers, $5 foot long, our beloved Subway. All of the credits for all of these commercials, all of these jingles, and even the full Liberty Mutual commercials, if you wanna see the originals, it’s all gonna be in our show notes. I also have a bunch of articles where I found information about nostalgia, why catchy songs work, why people are doing all the stuff about stunt marketing, and repetition, and success, why all of those things work to create powerful marketing, you can find those credits on our show notes.
But guys, this is what Marketing in the Wild is about. It is about seeing the marketing that is happening all around us, and saying, what worked, what didn’t work? And what can I start including in my own marketing? So I hope this is helpful. If there’s some marketing that you’re seeing that you’re like, I love this and I am gonna start using this, I would love to hear about that. Send me an email. I would love to talk more. Otherwise, guys, we will see you next week back here.
Friends, thanks for tuning into this week’s podcast episode. I am so glad that you have. If you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have, I just ask you to subscribe so you know each time we have a new episode coming out. If you’ve loved our podcast and wanna give us a rating or a review, I promise, we will read each and every one of them. A special shout out to our friend, Carson Childers, who is producing our podcast. We really appreciate him and all the hard work that he’s done for us.
Also, thanks to the Stratos team. They have been behind the scenes doing all of the graphic design, brainstorming, et cetera, et cetera. Really, this wouldn’t be possible without them. I’m thankful for each and every one of you guys.
Lastly, listener, we’ll be back next week, and I hope you will be too.
Liberty Mutual – Young People
Liberty Mutual – Nostalgia
Liberty Mutual – Exciting Stunts
Liberty Mutual – Catchy Song
Kit Kat Commercial
Kay Jewelers Commercial
Subway Footlong Commercial