GGC Heats Up Fireman’s Fund

Moving away from the buttoned-down approach taken by its former agency, Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co. has called on Gardner Geary Coll to launch an aggressive national print campaign that suggests competitors often undervalue insured objects.

The print ads, set to break in August in national magazines, are the first work for the client from the San Francisco agency. The shop landed the account last summer after hiring several senior staffers from the company’s previous shop, the now-defunct Katsin/Loeb.

Spending on the new campaign was not disclosed. The client spent $11 million on advertising in 2000 and $3 million in 2001, per CMR.

Fireman’s Fund, which was established in 1863 and is based in Novato, Calif., had close to $5 billion in revenues in 2001.

The new ads from GGC poke fun at rival insurance companies by suggesting they don’t fully compensate customers for losses. The work features expensive objects or settings that are marred by the addition of something cheap in the image.

In one ad, the door of a posh home has been replaced with one from a trailer home. Another shows an ornate table setting, complete with plastic fork and knife. A third ad has a nice sports car fitted with a beat-up front tire and rusty hubcap.

Text on each execution reads, “Your insurance company’s idea of replacement value.” The ads will run through December.

“These are in-your-face ads in one of the dullest categories in advertising,” agency president Bob Gardner said. “We’re targeting people who would not describe themselves as affluent [and] reminding them that they have nice things even though they might not think of themselves as rich.”

The client’s director of marketing, Helen Lo, said the ads “catch attention, communicate a compelling message and offer a better solution to owners of fine homes, luxury automobiles and valuable possessions. The concept boards were well received, and I look forward to seeing our audience’s reaction after the full campaign launch.”

Gardner said the campaign could be extended if the ads prove to be effective.