Why do all insurance commercials have to be funny nowadays?

GEICO has the gecko, cavemen, etc.
Progressive has Flo
Farmers has the “Meat Loaf” joke
AFLAC has the duck
State Farm has the “greatest spokesman”

It wasn’t always like this. Wouldn’t you want your insurance company to seem stable, not funny?

Because it’s so full of despair? In most states, insurance is a requirement and costs thousands of dollars per year. Also, there’s so much competition the actual features they are advertising are, once the comedy is stripped away, nearly inconsequential. For example, the caveman series of Geico commercials only states that switching is “easy,” the same theme Flo usually hawks. Therefore, if they can’t compete with each other on price or performance, the only difference is comedy.

And those singing Nationwide/Pam ads.

Then again, aren’t most ads these days striving to be funny? Maybe it’s just competition?

Not all are - around here (Upper Midwest) West Bend, American Family, Farmers, and Travelers are all still bland. Common theme: they all emphasize “we’re unexciting, but here when you need us”.

There’s nothing fun about insurance. If they fool us into fun, maybe we’ll go with that company. The one that tells the best jokes. (How about those new Esurance ads, are those the stupidest insurance ads ever or what)

Actually, Farmers is one of those companies that have been going with humerous ads nowadays. They have the “University of Farmers” ads featuring J. K. Simmons playing the instructor and which include the Meat Loaf ad mentioned above.

Farmers slideshow ad

And Allstate has those “Mayhem” ads featuring another “Oz” and “Law and Order” alumnus, Dean Winters.

I don’t find 21st Century’s commercials funny in the least.

It’s that whole truth of being rapacious, unresponsive, bloodsucking, money-grubbing, claim denying asswipes that they’re trying to soften. Is it working?

They would be embarrassed if they are the only ones laughing (all the way to the bank)… so, they increase your premium to pay for real funny commercials and now you can laugh too.

I don’t really care why. I take a lot of pleasure in the cavemen, Progressive’s Flo, Erin E-Surance, and their ilk. They bring a little sunshine into my day.

But you don’t see the hot cartoon babe “Erin Esurance” anymore. It’s some idiot doing sound effects, and talking discount categories that are beyond inane and senseless. And the hipster geico caveman has been phased out in favor of “geico savings on the radio” which is on par with the new esurance ad campaign. Beyond lame.

Just to note that “The World’s Greatest Spokesperson in the World” is a Nationwide campaign, not State Farm.

Those new State Farm ones where the driver is about to have a terrible accident, sings the jingle, and poof! their insurance agent miraculously appears. Then the car owner’s idjit friends all have to have their turn singing the jingle and add on: “With a milkshake! With the hot babe from downstairs! With a pet lion!”

I find them grating as hell, and if the driver’s friends aren’t customers I don’t know why the jingle is supposed to work for them anyway (yes, I know stuff like this is what the mute button’s for)

Allstate’s commercials seem to be serious but reassuring. No humor, but usually decent commercials (not entertaining, but selling the product well).

Except for the Mayhem ads.

Most of the AFLAC duck commercials weren’t all that funny, at least not in a joke way. They talked about the product, and the duck would just quack away (the only humor being that the people couldn’t understand that the duck was telling them which insurance to buy). I think as time went on, they did start featuring the duck more and more, and he probably would’ve ended up something like the Geico Gecko if given enough time.

Popped in to mention these–they’re one step up from a powerpoint presentation, with animated text recapitulating (often word for word) whatever the announcer is saying. And when I say ‘animated text,’ I don’t mean like a cool typography video–I mean sliding in from the side or bottom of the screen, like a powerpoint presentation. I’m pretty sure there are other companies that favor this style–it’s popular with the mesothelioma/asbestosis ads as well, I believe–but 21st Century is who comes to mind.

If you stick to ‘just the facts’ on an insurance commercial, this is pretty much what you wind up with. (Also, I think they’re trying to follow Geico’s lead, and mostly failing–Erin Esurance, and the followup Esurance ads, have been the best of the bunch, IMO. Oh–the ads with that guy causing random destruction–also good.)

I can’t stand the American Family spots with the smug, Ron Howard-from-Arrested Development-sounding narrator and the cloying music.

“It’s called THE (unnatural pause, string of non-sequiturs, another unnatural pause) *policy.”

*I was delighted to see the ad with J. K. Simmons, but I honestly could not remember what it was advertising.

I saw a new one from Safe Auto that, well let’s say I’m glad that I can’t find it on YouTube at the moment. It shows a man in a doctor’s examination room dressed only in a gown. The doctor enters and says “Are you ready for your exam?” as he’s pulling a latex glove onto his right hand. An announcer’s voice cuts in saying that this is how driving without auto insurance can feel. The camera then cuts to a long line of doctors with gloves on their hands lining up to be the next to probe the guy’s nether regions.

Forgot to mention: If you’re in the Pacific Northwest, you’re no doubt familiar with the insane ads for Vern Fonk insurance, typically aired late at night.