California's second largest auto insurance company, Mercury Insurance Group, this fall launched a new advertising campaign, "Corporate Culture," to compete in an auto insurance advertising race speeding down the road at a record-setting pace that is projected to hit $1.7 billion annually in 2007, nearly triple 2003's total.
Mercury's campaign includes a suite of eight, thirty-second TV commercials, internet banner and print ads all humorously depicting Mercury's corporate culture as being totally shaped by the company's complete commitment to delivering the lowest auto insurance rates available.
A corporate culture focused on "low" is comically presented: the office thermostat is so low that penguins show up for work, Mercury keeps its travel expenses so low that executives fly in dog kennels and duffle bags rather than in airline seats, the company's president even drives a low-rider, and seriously low, five-foot-high ceilings are seen in offices, conference rooms and even elevator carriages. Reinforcing the low theme are dainty desks and diminutive doorways so low that Mercury employees occasionally smack their heads entering rooms. Mercury staff is admonished to "walk off" the pain of a smack-to-the head for the sake of Mercury's treasured policyholders, all of whom have become accustomed to low rates and a high-level of customer service -- no matter how low Mercury's doorways need to be.
Leveraging the comedic success of the recently-completed "Mercury Theory" marketing effort, the Corporate Culture theme maintains a focus on being funny while shifting Mercury's message to an edgier concentration on its core strength of providing a great insurance value for policyholders: low rates and a superior level of customer service -and moving away from the idea that "aliens from the planet Mercury" mandated Mercury's lower rates.
"In order to make an impact in today's TiVo world, advertising must be entertaining," said Erik Thompson, Director of Advertising at Mercury.
The Corporate Culture commercials began airing in October on network affiliates and cable TV in California, Florida and Oklahoma. Ironically, the commercials all feature six-foot, one-inch tall Thomas Poarch in a world of five-foot ceilings. Poarch is a current cast member of the National Comedy Theater in New York City. Poarch's TV credits include One Life To Live, As The World Turns, All My Children, Central Park West and various commercials.
The commercials, all of which conclude with a suggestion that viewers visit MercuryInsurance.com, were produced by award-winning director Edward Schumacher of Venice, CA-based Boy Genius, with Mercury's agency of record, San Antonio-based MarketPowerGroup, designing and implementing the media purchase.
"People want to save money. This campaign tells how Mercury focuses on saving their customers real money in a fun and visually interesting way," said Chuck Wall, CEO of MarketPowerGroup.
Founded in 1962, Mercury Insurance Group is today part of Mercury General Corporation (NYSE: MCY).
About Mercury General Corporation: Mercury General Corporation (MCY) is a multiple-line insurance organization offering predominantly personal automobile and homeowners insurance through a network of independent agents and brokers in California, Florida, New Jersey, Texas, Arizona, New York, Georgia, Oklahoma, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, Virginia and Pennsylvania. Mercury concentrates its operations on building and improving long-term shareholder value through careful underwriting, strict cost control and efficient claims management, which support affordable, competitive automobile insurance rates. For more information about Mercury Insurance, please visit www.MercuryInsurance.com
First Call Analyst:
SOURCE: Mercury Insurance Group
CONTACT: Erik Thompson of Mercury Insurance Group, +1-661-291-6435,
EThompson@MercuryInsurance.com; or John Brice for Mercury Insurance Group,
Web site: http://www.mercuryinsurance.com/