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Nationwide Direct Moves Westward

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WCJ's $20-30 Million Multimedia Campaign Set to Break in 21 States
SAN FRANCISCO-Wunderman Cato Johnson here is preparing to roll out a new branding campaign in 21 Western states for Nationwide Direct, the direct-to-consumer auto insurance unit of Nationwide Insurance Enterprise, Columbus, Ohio.
This is Nationwide Direct's first cohesive multimedia campaign. Billings are estimated at $20-30 million. The working tagline is: "Better price. Better service. Better call us."
WCJ/SF won the account, its largest, last January. But Nationwide Direct only made the decision public this month to avoid alerting competitors such as Allstate that it was working on new advertising.
"We have two goals for this campaign," said Ish Sapoval, a representative for Nationwide Direct. "We want people to call us, and we want people in the Western region to recognize the Nationwide brand."
The insurance company is well-known east of the Mississippi River, Sapoval said, largely due to the "Nationwide is on your side" branding campaign developed nearly two decades ago by Ketchum Advertising, Pittsburgh, Pa.
But the Western region is "a great challenge," according to Sapoval, because the company has no agents or offices there. Instead, customers call an 800 number to access Nationwide services.
"Not having a physical presence in the West has been a disadvantage for us in the past," Sapoval said. "But now we think that what we've been doing for 30 years is really the wave of the future in insurance."
The campaign has been test-marketed in California, Idaho, Arizona, Utah and Wisconsin. The full effort, covering 21 states, will launch in the first quarter of 1998. WCJ is experimenting with broadcast and direct mail.
"The campaign targets good drivers and those who are thinking about changing their auto insurance," said Paul Smith, executive vice president and managing director at WCJ/SF.
Nationwide's Web site, which was developed by WCJ and is located at www.ndirect.com, will be promoted by every medium in the campaign.