Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. is digging into its archives as part of a corporate branding overhaul that includes putting a soaring eagle back into its logo. The insurer will debut the new design as part of a campaign starring Peyton Manning that will begin Thursday during the NFL's first regular season game on NBC.
The company also says it is moving to a "one brand approach" that will mean marketing all of its services under the "Nationwide" name. Previously, the company sold various product lines under different names, some of which did not include the Nationwide name, such as VPI Pet Insurance, Allied Insurance, Harleysville Insurance and more.
"We need to align the entire company behind the most powerful brand asset we have, which is 'Nationwide' and 'Nationwide is on Your Side,'" Nationwide Chief Marketing Officer Matt Jauchius said, referring to the iconic jingle.
The brand is returning to its so-called "N and Eagle" logo, which first appeared when the company previously known as Farm Bureau Mutual was renamed Nationwide in 1955. The eagle was grounded in 1998, when Nationwide went with a blue box logo that it called the "Frame." The eagle came back gradually in recent years, appearing briefly on a waving blue flag at the beginning of ads in its ongoing "Join the Nation" campaign, which started in 2012.
Recent research revealed that the eagle logo has 50% higher brand awareness association with Nationwide than the frame logo, Mr. Jauchius said. The eagle is "a unifying mark" for the new strategy, "which is to unite the whole company behind one name, Nationwide," he said.
For the new logo, the eagle got a facelift: It was redesigned to look more like a real eagle, Mr. Jauchius said. The logo also uses a slightly darker shade of blue. The marketer used Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv for the design.
That sponsorship allowed for Nationwide to use broader NFL imagery in the Manning ad. For instance, the ad shows Mr. Manning and actors playing his teammates in authentic Broncos helmets and practice jerseys. "You can't show that without partnership with the NFL," Mr. Jauchius said. Still, much of the ad occurs off the field because "people like to see their heroes away from the game," he said.
In the spot, Mr. Manning hums and makes up his own lyrics to the familiar Nationwide jingle while driving, watching TV and making a sandwich.
Ogilvy & Mather first won the Nationwide account in 1963, and soon after created the insurer's iconic jingle. It lost the account in 1991.
Adam Tucker, president of Ogilvy & Mather, New York, said the shop dug into its archives as it created the new ad, viewing old footage that included the jingle. "We all couldn't stop humming the track. The line is so infectious and it sticks with you, and it's iconic," he said. "We wanted to do something with dramatizing the line."
The shop even met with Joel Raphaelson, a former Ogilvy employee who wrote the song. He described that, at the time, research revealed that there was an "unmet human need" in the category and "people wanted insurance companies to be on their side," Mr. Tucker recalled.
The following memo from 1964, which includes David Ogilvy as a recipient, shows that the agency actually considered several versions of the theme: