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Tower puts its worries behind new ad campaign

By Duncan Bridgeman

Friday 21st February 2003

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If there is one company that would know what a worry would look like, it would have to be insurance group Tower.

The company ended 2002 in disarray, minus a chief executive and battling a string of negative publicity after posting a massive loss in September.

It appears ironic, then that Tower's insurance division has chosen the word "worry" as the title of a new advertising campaign designed to revive its faltering image.

Tower Insurance spent $3 million on its new advertising campaign, with a series of television commercials scheduled to start on Sunday.

The focal point of the campaign is "taking the worry out of life," with the commercials featuring a Muppet-like creature symbolising what a "worry" might look like physically hanging over someone without insurance.

Tower New Zealand's head of sales and marketing Henry Lynch said the objective was to be positive rather than negative.

Many insurance companies used disaster scenarios to get their message across and Tower did not want to get into a painting contest by using the same format, he said.

"Insurance is insurance ­ bad things happen. But we wanted to portray a pre-accident scenario as opposed to post-accident."

Mr Lynch said the new campaign was the last part of a new marketing direction for Tower Insurance that encompassed home, contents, car, health and life insurance. The new series of advertisements takes a snapshot of each of those categories.

Mr Lynch said the company wanted to get its information across in a lighthearted way by taking the "doom and gloom" out of insurance claims. Hence the portrayal of a real-life worry being discarded each time someone phones up for insurance cover.

He said the campaign was designed to help increase market share and get more high-quality business.

Advertising agency Generator Bates, which took over the Tower New Zealand account from Young & Rubicam late last year, took four months to create the advertisements.

Chief executive Andrew Stone said the work followed extensive research into what customers wanted from an insurance company and what their concerns were.

He said using their worries as a theme created a strong signature device that could easily extend to outdoor and direct marketing.

The budget of $3 million included all marketing activity for Tower Insurance and Mr Stone said while that was a significant amount, it was in line with what had been spent in previous years.

Creative director Oliver Maisey said the focal character of the advertisements ended up being a balance between evil and likeable. "We wanted to do something interesting while at the same time getting the information across."

Focus groups and Tower staff were asked to draw their own impressions of what a worry looked like, which helped design the final version.

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