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Esurance knows consumers like football, and it's hoping they'll like a figurative football made out of cash even better. As part of a sweepstakes giveaway campaign, the San Francisco-based insurer will air a 30-second commercial about 10 minutes before kickoff on Super Bowl Sunday. The initiative follows similar efforts of cost-effective game-related marketing in previous years from the Allstate-owned brand.
With voice-over from "The Office" actor John Krasinski urging consumers to "pass it on," the spot depicts people in various situations—drinking coffee at a café, mowing the lawn or just exiting the shower—playing catch with the cash-wrapped ball. Those who retweet messages from Esurance's Twitter handle and tag their messages #EsuranceSweepstakes automatically enter a drawing in which the insurer plans to give away $1 million. The entry period for prizes began Feb. 4; 16 winners will be announced during and following the Feb. 7 game.
"You can't just preach at people during the Super Bowl—it's a boring message to just talk about insurance products and services," said Alan Gellman, who has been chief marketing officer of the 17-year-old brand since 2014. "But when you start to see our tweets—it's an innovative way of delivering our brand message in ways they'll find engaging." He noted that viewers can also stay tuned for a surprise at the end of the game.
Last year, Esurance featured two ads on game day—a spot starring Lindsay Lohan aired before kickoff, while a second spot with Brian Cranston as his "Breaking Bad" character Walter White debuted during the game—the insurer's first-ever. The spots introduced the brand's "Sorta You Isn't You" campaign which touted Esurance's ability to custom-fit its insurance quotes to each individual consumer.
In 2014, the insurer aired an ad following the Super Bowl in an effort to promote its savings prowess by not over-spending on an in-game commercial. That spot also included a sweepstakes offering; Esurance was the most-tweeted brand in the game that year.
Mr. Gellman noted that Esurance has built its reputation on saving money for its customers and the brand's approach to the Super Bowl will only reinforce that message.
"We want to use word of mouth because it's important for brands like us—we want people to feel this is a smart brand," added Nancy Abraham, VP of integrated marketing communications.
Esurance spent $263 million on media in 2014, up 71.8% from 2013, according to Ad Age's DataCenter.