Startup Bestow debuts first brand campaign as the pandemic heats up life insurance marketing

Preacher makes offbeat pitches about a serious subject

Published On
Oct 20, 2020

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No parent wants to be playground-shamed and Bestow, a life insurance startup, takes that sentiment to heart in its first brand campaign, debuting this week. In one spot, a mom mentions another woman’s lack of life insurance and the “bravery” of leaving her debt to her child when she dies. In another, an older brother offers his unsolicited insurance advice.

Dallas-based Bestow, which was founded three years ago, taps into the guilt consumers might be feeling over not having insurance in a new marketing push created with Austin agency Preacher. And the timing for such a campaign is spot on, as interest in the category rises amid the pandemic.

“In COVID, we have certainly seen a lot of higher intent, traffic and interest in life insurance as people start to consider their mortality more seriously,” says Tannen Campbell, who joined Bestow last year as chief marketing officer.


Indeed, as consumers battle economic and health uncertainty, many are thinking about life insurance in ways they have not previously. Ellen Carney, a principal analyst who covers insurance at Forrester, says that normally life events like a new baby, death of a family member or buying a new home result in consumers taking a life insurance policy—now, COVID-19 is spurring such decisions. Carney notes that millennials, in particular, are helping to fuel the uptick in interest.

Startups like Bestow, which, unlike established players, offer a digital and quick experience that taps into medical information data sources rather than requiring a health exam, are appealing to such younger consumers. Along with Bestow, there is Fabric, which also offers online tools for making a will, Ladder and UK-based DeadHappy.

“There’s this misperception about life insurance in the market that it’s really cumbersome,” says Campbell. “People think it takes weeks to get an answer. They aren’t necessarily aware that Bestow is out there.”

According to ad tracking firm Ace Metrix, the number of life insurance and investment ads on air increased 77% from July to August this year. Last year, a similar rise took place later in the year, in September, yet this year, Ace Metrix has tested 107 ads in the two-month period of August and September compared with 103 ads in the year-earlier period.

Established players are also homing in on the rising interest in the category. Northwestern Mutual recently debuted a series of ads focused on the importance of financial planning during this period of uncertainty. The ads feature small business owners navigating the pandemic.

Earlier this month, Bank of America debuted “Life Plan,” an app that helps customers plan financially and reach certain goals.

“You’re seeing this grounding about ‘We’re all in this together’ and stuff like that,” says Carney of the marketing she’s seen recently in the category.

Bestow’s campaign includes three 30-second spots that will air across digital video, display, social and audio. Initially, the work will run in Bestow’s local Texas market before rolling out nationally in January, typically a busy time period for the sector as consumers pursue New Year’s resolutions.



Oct 20, 2020
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