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  • Writer's pictureLucas Bergmans

The meaning of life insurance

Updated: Jan 4

I have some terrible news for you…

You’re going to die. 

And there’s worse news. You don’t know when or how this will happen. Neither do I. No one does.

If you have family that depend on you, what’s going to happen to them if you die unexpectedly? How will they cope without you and your income?

Let that thought settle in for a moment.

Now, can I interest you in some life insurance?

As a marketer, I’ve long been fascinated by life insurance as a product.

And I came to the conclusion that if you can crack Marketing for life insurance, you can do literally anything.

It’s the most bonkers product. Let me explain….

It can be pricey. We’re talking anywhere from a monthly Spotify subscription to a monthly energy bill (I told you it was pricey) depending on how much cover you need.

Despite the cost, it’s a product that you really, really hope you never actually need to use.

The process of generating a quote and buying it is sobering, even unpleasant. It’s what I call ‘death maths’. If you die on this date, how many years will your family need money to live and how much income each month? If your premiums are way too high, how do your bereaved loved-ones cope with less? Cancel Netflix? Can the kids start work at 14 instead of 16? You get the picture. This is the one time you really need to plot out the worst possible outcomes and look death square in the face. It’s like the opposite of planning your next holiday.

And finally, how do you know what you’re paying for is any good? If you end up needing to test it out, guess what? You’ll be dead!

So, if you’re a Marketer trying to work out how to make life insurance an appealing product to buy, where do you start? One approach could be to go heavy on fear of death (see above) but you could quite easily get that wrong and damage trust in your brand (which is a terrible move for life insurance, right?)

When I was at Aviva (the UK’s leading insurance company) I worked with the wonderful team at Adam&Eve on developing advertising for different types of insurance. When we worked on a life insurance brief together, one of the key criteria for judging creative ideas was the right level of ‘deathiness’ – enough to prompt action and get people to get a quote but not too much so that they see you as a scaremongering slimeball!

Which brings me on to two examples of brands that I think have cracked the answer for how to do life insurance brilliantly well. Sadly, neither example had anything to do with me!

Firstly, Aviva (but before my time) made this magic piece of advertising. For context, this followed a series of more jovial ads for car and home insurance featuring Paul Whitehouse (well-known 90s comedian) so for the average viewer at the time, there might have been an expectation of light comedy entertainment. Instead, it’s a beautiful gut-punching tearjerker!

Secondly, I just love Dead Happy. It’s a relatively new kid on the block of life insurance but they have a fantastic, fresh approach. As well as making the process of getting a quote quick, easy and low cost, they are also on a mission to change the conversation around death altogether. You can even make your own Deathwish (check it out here). I think I’ll go for blasting my ashes into space or maybe a bronze statue of myself? Then again, paying off the mortgage might be more sensible…

It all just goes to show, there are amazing creative solutions to even the knottiest problems in Marketing!

I hope all this talk of death and life insurance hasn’t got you feeling too gloomy about all the terrible things that might happen to you in future. If so, go ahead and enjoy some Easter chocolate to lighten the mood!

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