Nostalgia is a powerful marketing tool, evoking warm memories of a simpler time. With the advent of technology (read: YouTube), we can easily remember what yesteryear looked like with the click of button. We can learn from days gone by which sales formulas were successful and apply them to doing business today.
As a follow-up to our recent article about the most memorable life and health insurance ads, we go back to the beginnings of the TV era to find the life and health insurance commercials that have stood the test of time.
Get ready to board our time machine. Let the countdown begin!
2000s: TRIGON, Spinach or Spanish?
“Spinach, carrots, greens.” These kids really know what to eat to stay healthy. The boy and girl duo continue their conversation and when the boy says that he already mentioned “spinach” the girl corrects him: “I said ‘Spaaanish.” The boy corrects her: “No, that’s not… Spanish is ‘¿cómo estás?’ it’s nothing you eat.” To which the girl replies: “Hakuna Matata.” The boy is visibly annoyed at her for not being serious.
This ad plays on the innocence of children and their funny quirks. Also, it’s so cute, which is a great selling tool because you will remember it.
1980s: Prudential, Get a piece of the rock
“Poor Harold?!” repeats an incredulous Harold to himself. He never thought he would “go like that”, but it happens every day and that’s why Prudential recruited angels, or so it seems. Did they use the actor who plays Harold because he looks like a shorter Andy Kaufman and is funny? We might never know, but the ad uses a lighthearted tone to talk about life insurance and death, which are two things that are not easy to bring up in any conversation.
1980s: American Family Insurance, Behold the computer era!
Those are some fancy computer letters or “graphics” you’ve got there, AmFam! It’s amazing how they integrated real life video shots with computer “animation,” for the 1980s. But looking at the images of the operating room might give you goose bumps if you’ve had surgery before. And out of $22K for the medical services, the most you pay for covered expenses is $125? Where do I sign up?!
This ad is playing on the emotion of you being able to afford the medical care you need. The fact that it doesn’t have music and the only things that you hear are related to what you’re seeing on TV (the computer screen, the heartbeat machine in the room, the somewhat stern voice of the narrator), makes you pay close attention. And, we will never forget that sound the computer made every time you typed something or had to search for a file in MS-DOS.
1970s: Aetna, Red bike
The soothing music, seeing the bike cruise down gently to its destination, the pride in the narrator’s voice when he mentions Aetna and all the things that they can protect — this ad really gives you a feeling of security and peace of mind, and that’s exactly what the insurance industry is about.