LONDON/NEW YORK: In the crowded UK and US property and casualty (P&C) insurance markets, TV remains an important channel in which brands can raise awareness and memorability, an industry figure has said.

Writing in Admap, Chris Cox, UK TVBE Lead at Nielsen, observes that the challenge for P&C insurance is how to acquire customers and, once acquired, how to maintain loyalty over time and develop opportunities to cross-sell.

"At each of these stages TV advertising can play a crucial role – particularly at the acquisition level, as long purchase cycles mean consumers tend to remain with their existing provider so long as they are broadly satisfied," he says.

In both the US and UK, share of voice leans heavily towards a few larger operators whose weight on air is significantly ahead of most of the competition.

But, Cox adds, "in neither market is media weight the key predictor of ad resonance … media is an accelerator of performance, not a determinant of it".

So it is a waste of money putting higher spend behind a weaker creative. Instead, Cox argues, "brands should double up on their strongest creatives and work to develop consistent best practices that drive success at the core, in order to ensure that no GRP is wasted".

And there are certain rules that can help for this, such as ensuring clear audible and visual prompts relating to the brand appear in the first third of the creative; this correlates to stronger branding scores, he reports.

More generally, the top-performing insurance brands in both markets rely on humour and a unique voice – "It's no good running a campaign where creative elements could be repurposed by a competitor to equal effect".

And storytelling in itself is not enough: the brand must be necessary to the story.

Cox notes that "Progressive's ads pay off because the brand character is so tightly integrated and Direct Line paints itself as the resolution to the story for the various scenarios presented in its narrative".

While he expects the multi-screening habit to become more embedded with audiences, he maintains that TV will remain a key part of an insurance brand's advertising strategy – "delivering broad, positive messages and helping to embed a common understanding of the brand" while also driving long-term memory.

Data sourced from Admap