Hiscox: Most disastrous ads or most cunning stunt?

HiscoxWho said insurance was boring? Well, to be honest, most people but here comes a new campaign from specialist firm Hiscox which at least tries to be “playful” in its use of advertising, including special outdoor media builds and “disastrous” executions.

The campaign focuses on the stories of small business owners, dramatising the risks and challenges they face, through a series of wryly-told scenarios. The campaign line is: “The story of your business, underwritten by Hiscox.”

In addition to conventional media spaces, the activity includes a wide range of special-build outdoor executions that physically represent the risks shown within the ads. Mud is splattered across one poster site to highlight a client mess-up, while seemingly exposed wires dramatise electrical hazards.

Executions also appear to have been duplicated, mis-sized and incorrectly installed in the campaign, running across 17 UK towns and cities, including a typo execution, with details including Hiscox spelt incorrectly.

There are also purposefully disastrous executions, including a blank newspaper wrap for the Metro accompanied by inside and back page ads that read “you missed the deadline to supply a front page for your client’s cover wrap and now they’re threatening to get legal”. As well as a WeTransfer takeover.

The first work for the brand from Uncommon Creative Studio, the activity has been bought and planned by Total Media, and is part of an integrated campaign which also includes radio ads, digital marketing and PR activity.

The initial launch targets SMEs, a core audience for the insurer, with executions to target insurance brokers also launching this week. A campaign aimed at high value homeowners is expected towards the end of this year or early 2024.

Hiscox UK marketing director Fiona Mayo said: “Hiscox is a different type of insurer. We are specialists, not generalists and our advertising reflects that. In a category that’s often serious and cautious, we’ve created a campaign with a distinctive visual approach and intelligent humour that’s rooted in deep insight, to stand apart.”

Lucy Jameson, co-founder at Uncommon: “We’re proud to share our first work for Hiscox – which is quite literally, the most disastrous campaign ever. From typos to burst pipes – this playful outdoor work uses multiple special builds to bring to life real stories of the risks and challenges that affect business owners today.

“In the insurance category which usually plays it safe – this message is bold and brave – differentiating and elevating Hiscox’s people focused offering, with a provocative new tone of voice.”

So, what is the consensus around the Decision Marketing office?

Well, to be honest we quite like this activity – at least it stands out from the usual dirge. However, Hiscox has not got a great record on paying out claims – back in 2021 it was forced to agree a settlement with a group of about 400 companies over business interruption losses suffered as a result of lockdowns during the Covid-19 crisis.

Not that it was alone, a test case at the supreme court in January of that year found that six major insurers, including Hiscox, should make payments totalling about £1.2bn.

Nevertheless “the most disastrous campaign ever” certainly hits the spot.

Decision Marketing Adometer: A “quite incredible” 8 out of 10 for an insurance ad

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