Empire Life taps Dumb Ways to Die

The Canadian insurance co is leveraging the five-time Cannes Grand-Prix-winning viral jingle for its biggest consumer push to date.

Empire Life thinks dying without life insurance is a dumb way to die. And expect to hear about it over the next eight weeks.

The life insurance brand has licensed the multi-Cannes-winning YouTube phenomenon (with more than 100 million views on the platform worldwide) Metro Trains Melbourne campaign for its own purposes, tweaking the creative to serve its needs. Yes, you read that right: Metro Trains licensed its jingle out to Canada’s Empire Life.

Working with TC Media to adapt the creative (most of which were already created by McCann Melbourne to encourage train safety), this campaign also marks the first consumer-facing campaign for the brand, which has traditionally targeted life insurance salespeople, brokers and agents on a B2B scale.

Talking about death is a difficult thing for any brand, says Mike Stocks, VP, insurance marketing at Empire. But after seeing the campaign win at Cannes last year (picking up an astonishing five Grands Prix), he thought he found a perfect fit.

“I thought this [let us] talk about death in a more entertaining way, making it more approachable,” he says.

Life insurance has seen a steady decline in Canada, with only 43% of Canadians owning a policy, down from 55% in 2006. One study by the Life Insurance Market Research Association found 65% were under-insured, if at all.

Stocks attributes this to a number of factors, including a feeling of “invincibility” among millennials and the 2008 financial crisis, which re-prioritized financial matters for a number of Canadians.

The licence agreement is for two years, with an option to renew, he says. They’ll play it by ear, though to start off, the brand launched an eight-week TV campaign, with media by Neo@Ogilvy, supported by digital and social, with an email and direct-mail component in the works.

The campaign targets mothers, 25 to 55, because research showed 93% of moms make the sole, or share with a spouse, financial household decisions. As such, the TV campaign will largely live on specialty channels such as Home and Garden or DIY Network. The brand has also partnered with Zoom Media Canada to run the ads on its Fit TV network in Goodlife Fitness, LA Fitness, Nautilus Plus and Energie Cardio locations nationally.

Consumers are encouraged to head to the recently-launched, consumer-facing website, Empirelife.ca, where they can connect with insurance advisers and learn more about available products.