Pickett Alters Strategy for 21st Century Insurance

Pickett Adver tising is relaunching the 21st Century Insurance brand and ditching the past-their-prime celebrities who appeared in its previous campaign for the brand.

21st Century, which sells car insurance in five Western states as well as homeowner insurance in California, ran ads from Pickett last winter that showed celebrities such as Anna Nicole Smith, pro wrestler Randy Savage and aging rocker Alice Cooper applying to work for the company—until they realize the commitment needed.

The new $25 million push takes a different approach, showing average people talking about their first car or how good it feels to “turn 21.”

The five spots are the first work done at Pickett by creative directors Corey Stolberg and Tim Price, who joined recently from Foote, Cone & Belding in San Francisco.

“We feel the other stuff didn’t create a brand,” agency president Jack Boland said. “But the new spots make an emotional connection with when you were 21 and tie that back to the brand.”

One spot opens with shots of older people talking about how they “feel like a million bucks.” It closes with a voiceover: “It’s good to feel 21.” Onscreen messages in several spots outline cost savings and other benefits of signing up with 21st Century.

The spots will run first throughout California and then roll out to other Western states. They are scheduled to stay on the air through early next year.

Print ads are running in newspapers in Southern California. Billboards are also up.

“This was a move to create something much more distinct,” Boland said. “And this campaign can live for a long time in a lot of different directions.”

21st Century, based in Woodland Hills, Calif., claims to be the ninth-largest personal auto insurance company in the U.S., insuring nearly 1.2 million automobiles. Officials there could not be reached for comment.

Pickett also works with Longs Drug Stores, Learning Network, online business service MarketFusion and Internet search engine Google. Agency billings are roughly $65 million.