They have a star, they have a well-known name, and yet their brand strategy stinks. Unforgivable.
1 - Ad: Boring
Julia Roberts is such an interesting actress, but this commercial puts me to sleep. Maybe she only did voiceover because she didn't want anyone to remember her face in a spot that stinks so bad.
2- Slogan: Boring
Reports Dow Jones Newswires: "The Nationwide ads encourage viewers to "Join the Nation."
Oh, wait a minute - just in case, I suppose:
"They also keep the company's longtime slogan, 'Nationwide is on your side.'"
Hey Nationwide. There is no insurance for a bad slogan!
(Anybody got a spare slogan to donate just in case those two don't work out?)
3 - Positioning: Substitute a Celebrity for an Idea
"When we were considering how to bring our message to life, we were looking for a familiar voice that would bring our brand attributes to life," Jennifer Hanley, senior VP-brand marketing for Nationwide, said in a statement.
Read: We didn't want to take any chances. Get it? We're an INSURANCE company. And we know our brand jargon, e.g. "attributes."
The statement continues: "Julia Roberts' voice brings an assuring, confident tone to the campaign that resonates well with our target audience."
This means absolutely nothing. It's not even bare-bones communication. You don't talk to one audience about another audience and call the latter an "audience."
4 - Strategy: Think of Spending As Generating Results
"When you have a competitor spending over a billion dollars on ads, which we do, you have to break through the clutter in a relevant way," said Matthew Jauchius, chief marketing and strategy officer at Nationwide.
How is Nationwide doing that? I'm mystified. I also don't walk away knowing how much they're spending: "Mr. Jauchius declined to say how much Nationwide would spend on the new campaign but said it was the company's "largest campaign both in terms of cost and scope."
Not to worry folks: "This is a serious effort on our part to change the conversation" about insurance, he said.
5 - Innovation: None
"We are going against the grain in the marketplace by taking a more sincere tone, an authentic tone" (this is Jauchius again) "...rather than just a yuk with a phone number, which seems to characterize our category today."
Wow, "a yuk with a phone number." Seems Geico's doing pretty well with that, so I don't know if I would make fun.
Either way, "going against the grain" doesn't mean doing the opposite, it means actually thinking.