Root Insurance, an upstart auto insurance brand, drew a line in the sand earlier this year by committing to dropping credit scores in pricing by 2025. For decades, using one’s financial history has been a major way that insurance companies calculate rates. It’s also considered biased, unfair and discriminatory to under-resourced communities, immigrants and others facing financial hardship.
To announce a new partnership with Nascar driver Bubba Wallace, Root Insurance launched a powerful campaign, “Unapologetic.”
“Root Insurance is doing what is right and making insurance more fair, and I will be proud to drive a car with their colors next season,” said Wallace, who joins the newly established Michael Jordan racing team. “I stand firmly with the goal of eliminating bias from insurance, and I truly believe we can work together to help make the world a better place.”
The narrative of the minute-plus ad from Tool of North America aligns with the theme of progress and Wallace’s experiences as Nascar’s only Black driver at the top-level Cup Series, especially this year when he successfully urged the racing league to ban the Confederate flag at races and consistently promoted Black Lives Matter and other social causes.
Wallace also endured tweets from Donald Trump demanding an apology from the driver after a rope fashioned into a noose was found in his garage at a race in Talladega, Ala. It was later discovered that the rope had been in the garage for some months, but Nascar drivers rallied around Wallace at the race in June. Wallace responded to Trump’s tweet, invoking the hashtag #LoveWins.
“Getting to know Bubba Wallace and what he stands for made this partnership one that we couldn’t pass up,” said Alex Timm, Root co-founder and CEO. “He is dedicated to standing up for what is right, even when it involves facing adversity.”
The spot was directed by Wesley Walker, who has helmed high-profile work for Adidas, Nike, Shiseido and Tesla. Of Afro-Latino descent, Walker worked closely with Wallace and explained how the creative direction, based in truth, was built.
“What people do not know is what it feels like experientially to walk this path and what it takes to stand for what is right against such intense resistance,” Walker said. “We did this by blurring the lines between narrative cinema and vérité documentary styles—moments of pressure that give us the payoff and context to Bubba’s unwillingness to apologize for something he did not do. The power of Bubba Wallace’s story is that he is standing for change and standing for what is right.”