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Mason Tackles a Contested Issue

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Middlesex Mutual Ads Tout Coverage for Replacement Auto Parts
BOSTON--Mason & Madison has unveiled the first advertising effort for the Middlesex Mutual Assurance Co. in more than a decade.
The New Haven, Conn., agency hit on a hot topic for the campaign's initial salvo: guaranteed coverage for factory replacement parts in auto repairs.
A TV spot for the Middletown, Conn.-based client features a pair of red-haired 6-year-old boys hanging off large wrenches attached to a pair of seemingly identical bumpers. The cheap bumper bends, while the original, factory-made bumper holds firm.
A voiceover refers to Middlesex Mutual's guaranteed coverage for factory replacement parts, and the spot closes with the new tagline, "We're with you."
The campaign also includes print ads appearing in local newspapers, billboards and collateral materials. Those ads depict a car with front-end damage and the copy, "Don't you want it repaired with original factory parts?"
The campaign is running through November. Billings were not disclosed.
Middlesex Mutual has a network of 130 independent agents in Connecticut and 50 in Maine, and it's the only insurance company in those states to guarantee coverage for factory replacement parts, said Bruce Anderson, senior vice president of marketing and sales at Middlesex Mutual.
When creatives at Mason & Madison learned of the guarantee, they decided it would be a key benefit to highlight in ads, said executive creative director Mary Gatzemeyer.
Right before the ads began airing this month, the issue was thrust into the spotlight by a class-action lawsuit against Bloomington, Ill.-based insurance giant State Farm alleging that the company promotes the use of inferior replacement parts on policyholders' cars.
Anderson said the timing of the ads is coincidental. "It just happens that around us is all this noise," he said. "It's fortuitous."
Anderson said his company hasn't advertised in so long because "we're small and . . . didn't feel the urgency we do now." He said the company has plans to expand its territory.