Belairdirect gets customers out of scary situations

The insurance company addresses the lack of control its customers feel without its usual knight pitchman.

It’s time to say goodnight to the knight, at least in part.

While the animated version remains the insurance brand’s mascot, Belairdirect isn’t using the wisecracking, armour-clad real-life knight as a pitchman in its new campaign, though it is retaining its sense of humor.

Two spots, one for the Quebec market (“The House”) and one for Ontario (“The Boss”) highlight a storytelling shift from more of a tactical “get a quote now” approach, to one that’s focused on “peace of mind,” according to Humberto Valencia, vice president marketing and digital strategy at Belairdirect.

Borrowing cinematic cues from genre flicks, the spots spoof peril using common film and TV tropes. In “The House,” a witch attempts to stonewall new homeowners of a haunted abode and in “The Boss” an organized crime syndicate shakes down an associate in a shadowy warehouse. In both, Belairdirect home and car insurance, respectively, save the day and the protagonists.

The “peace of mind” approach stands in contrast to its 2018 campaign, where the snarky knight stages an intervention because a homeowner is paying too much for insurance. Both spots use humor, but the message has changed: in the new campaign, it’s “things may seem scary, but if you’re covered by us, everything’s good,” Valencia says. The main consumer insight that motivated the shift is customers’ perceived lack of control when it comes to insurance, he says, adding that “the element of surprise is particularly effective” with these new “cinematic” spots.

The company says it is uniquely positioned to address these concerns with its “insurance simplified” ethos to make insurance uncomplicated and free of unpleasant surprises, as well as with digital tools like “Automerit,” a program that rewards low mileage and safe driving.

According to Valencia, Belairdirect’s target audience is evolving. The brand is reaching out to young families, who are its home, condo and car-owning constituency. The goal is to continue building on the storytelling and themes in the new campaign, Valencia says, which are all “fed by current viewing trends,” citing spooky fare on Netflix and the enduring popularity of Mafia-related programming as inspirations.

This campaign by Sid Lee, with PR by National and media by PHD, launched on March 19 and will run until early summer across TV, digital, billboards and radio.