MK 354 Spring 2010

February 22, 2010

credible: all state insurance

Filed under: blog #4 — Tags: , , — marissagkelley @ 12:54 pm

The fourth chapter of the Heath brothers’ book, Made to Stick, focuses on credibility, and breaks down the elements that make an idea credible. To illustrate some of their core concepts, I will use the All State Insurance campaign.

When consumers go shopping for something like insurance, it is not a purchase they take lightly. People value their lives, loved ones and possessions at a very high degree, and they are not going to be willing to take any risks in protecting them. Therefore, as a company that offers this service, it is imperative that it offers credibility. Much like Safexpress had to prove their credibility to the Bollywood film company, All State must prove its credibility in order to gain significant market share.

In one particular All State advertisement entitled “Tail Lights”, a long line of cars full of teenagers drives along an open road. Music plays and spokesman Dennis Haysbert states “Every year, six thousand teenagers go out for a drive…and never come back. Just talking to them can change that”. The camera zooms in on a young girl’s face through the window as she drives away into the darkness. The ad is promoting All States parent-teen driving contract.

There are two Made to Stick elements at play here. First, the Heath brothers state that using vivid, truthful details can boost internal credibility. In this sixty-second TV spot, there are multiple shots of teens in their cars, laughing with friends or playing with a soccer ball. The attention that is paid to these details makes the teens more familiar, so that when Haysbert releases his statement on the number of annual teen driving deaths, the knowledge hits like a bag of sand. The details make the spot memorable, and relate back to the core idea of the campaign, which is to promote All State insurance. This method also makes the idea of teen driving deaths more concrete.

This is also an example of the human scale principle. The Heath brothers believe that appealing to existing schemas in a consumers mind will generate a human context for the statistic. They state, “humanizing the statistic gives the argument a greater wallop” (145). Watching the line of cars full of teenagers drive away, knowing that they represent six thousand deaths, humanizes a bland statistic on paper. This makes the statistic much more powerful, and boosts All State’s credibility.

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