RBC campaign takes fear out of buying insurance

A burning house. A wrecked car. A sick spouse. The traditional approach to selling personal insurance has been to scare the heck out of the consumer with terrifying 'what if' scenarios. Now contrast that with the first national branding campaign for...

A burning house. A wrecked car. A sick spouse. The traditional approach to selling personal insurance has been to scare the heck out of the consumer with terrifying ‘what if’ scenarios.

Now contrast that with the first national branding campaign for RBC Insurance, in which kids are shown racing down water slides and young couples are pictured embracing.

In a series of three, 30-second English television spots and two French-language TV spots, the insurance arm of the Royal Bank has taken a distinctly upbeat, optimistic approach to selling insurance.

‘People don’t buy insurance out of fear; they buy insurance so they can go out and enjoy life and not have to fear if something bad happens,’ says Bill MacDonald, president of Brandworks International, the Toronto-based agency that created the campaign.

The spots, which promote the bank’s home, auto and travel insurance, favour slow-motion pictures of families enjoying life instead of sobering images of the after-effects of a brutal car wreck or the charred frame of the family home.

‘The key to our positioning is to avoid the doom and gloom,’ says Tanis Dal Zotto, RBC Insurance vice-president of marketing. ‘We wanted to make a positive emotional connection with consumers and use optimism as a point of differentiation with the competition.’

Finding that point of differentiation was an important objective given that the campaign was RBC’s first consumer-targeted branding effort, Dal Zotto says. The company has only been offering home and automobile insurance nationally since December. In the past, the life, home, auto and travel insurance policies were sold under three different brands – RBC Direct, Westbury and Voyageur – and marketed mainly through direct response and radio advertising. Those brands are now being phased out in favour of the RBC Insurance umbrella.

‘We have pretty much a clean slate as far as this brand is concerned,’ says Dal Zotto.


Client: RBC Insurance

Agency: Brandworks International

Account Director: Bill MacDonald

Creative Director: Michael Clancy

Writer: Michael Clancy

Art Director: Joe Durning

Executive Producer: Ron Chapman

Media: Television

Start Date: February 2000

End Date: November 2000

Zulu grows its team and makes a slate of promotions

A director of interactive production for Zulubot is among dozens of new faces and roles at the agency, in response to recent wins.
Zulu Alpha Kilo_New Zuligans

Toronto indie shop Zulu Alpha Kilo had made several new hires and promotions on the heels of new business and also organic growth from existing clients.

Zulu could not officially announce the account wins at this time.

However, it can report that Ece Inan, most recently at Toronto design and tech shop Array of Stars, has been named the agency’s new director of interactive production for Zulubot, the agency’s production arm. In the new role, Inan will lead AR, VR, voice and other digital innovation projects.

Also on the production side, James Graham, who has spent the last 17 years with Grip, has joined the agency as its studio director.

Zulu has also made numerous additions on the client services side, led by Michael Brathwaite, also from Grip, as account director.

It’s also announced a spate of new account supervisors, including Hayley Blackmore (from G Adventures), Risa Kastelic (from BT/A), Kara Oddi (also from BT/A), Emily Anzarouth (also from Grip), Chris Rosario (from FCB/Six) and Sarah Shiff (from Rethink).

In addition to the new hires (pictured above), the agency has also announced several promotions: Alyssa Guttman moves from account director to group account director, while Nina Bhayana, Michelle Fournier, Jenn Gaidola-Sobral and Erin McManus have all been promoted to account director, and Haley Holm to account supervisor. On the strategy team, strategists Carly Miller and Spencer MacEachern have both been promoted to strategy director, while Shaunagh Farrelly, who has been with Zulu for two years in a client service role, moves into a new role as a digital strategist.

In December, the shop also announced that Stephanie Yung would be returning to the agency after a stint in New York as its head of design. Recent wins the agency has been able to announce including work as AOR for the Ottawa Senators, as well as a new arrangement with existing client Consonant Skincare, setting up an in-house team to support growth after taking an equity stake in the company.

Zulu president Mike Sutton says it’s wonderful, in a new year, to welcome new faces and energy to the team and says the agency is fortunate to have had so many people across the agency step up to support its clients.

“Simply put, they were rock stars, and the promotions are very well deserved,” Sutton says.