MetLife, the insurance provider, has revealed that emotional advertising can help it engage with its target audience in new, more powerful ways.

Nisha Yadav, MetLife’s head/global brand research, discussed a rebranding programme and strategic shift at the company during a session at The Marketing Research Event (TMRE) 2018, a conference held by KNect365.

She outlined how MetLife has sought to move from “something that is being sold to something that is being bought” – a transformation that gives marketing a deeper role, and has encouraged a more emotion-led approach.

“We started looking at the importance of emotional and rational advertising in our category to see how this made a difference,” Yadav said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: MetLife embraces its emotional side.)

MetLife worked with System1 Research, a behavioural-sciences marketing firm, to assess the effectiveness of ads in insurance, financial services and beyond – giving them an insight into the approaches proven to be the most impactful.

It found just 12% of insurance-category ads rated four or five stars for effectiveness. However, the sector had a much larger share – nearly half of all ads – that scored a one on System1’s scale, meaning they effectively logged zero effectiveness.

More specifically, the survey revealed much of the marketing in the category had been operating under a false presumption, Yadav told the TMRE delegates.

“This is very much a category where rational is important, right? ... It’s a financial decision, a very rational decision?” she asked. “Nope. It’s not … It’s a very emotional decision.”

While insurance brands must address product attributes and relevance, Yadav said the most important thing is positive emotion, and "driving that positive emotion is what is going to make the biggest difference, even in a very rational category.”

Such an insight fed into a “We’re for the Workforce” campaign, which included a TV spot focusing on how four different generations are functioning side by side in the US labor market – showing how MetLife can meet all of their needs.

It also reflects the meaningful impact of its research into the potential of emotion-led advertising.  “That was a big learning for us,” said Yadav. “We said, ‘This is a great opportunity for a brand that is trying to be more emotional and draw on the heartstrings of people and create that sense of optimism’.”

Sourced from WARC