Argonaut and MetLife Say Goodbye to Snoopy, Focus on the Working Classes

By Patrick Coffee 

Back in July we reported that insurance giant MetLife and brand spokesperson Snoopy (of Woodstock fame) would finally be parting ways after more than 30 years despite the fact that their contract technically extends into 2020.

We weren’t the first outlet to run this news, though we did speak to a source working on the account from the inside, and all the points he/she made turned out to be true. A few months later, the company debuted a new logo and general brand positioning.

As evidence of the shift, here is Argonaut’s first fully-promoted campaign for a client whose business it won 15 months ago. It debuted on yesterday’s morning shows, and it sticks with a fairly simple message: MetLife represents the working man.

MetLife goes beyond insurance, the campaign notes with a strangely populist tone. The ad also feels very B2B to us.

Global CMO and AT&T, Havas/Euro RSCG veteran Esther Lee explains a bit more in the press release:

“We brought in Snoopy over 30 years ago to make our company more friendly and approachable during a time when insurance companies were seen as cold and distant. We have great respect for these iconic characters. However, as we focus on our future, it’s important that we associate our brand directly with the work we do and the partnership we have with our customers.”

Early in the year, Argonaut hired two new creatives to lead the account in the form of Shane Fleming of Facebook and Anders Gustafsson of TBWA\MAL. The response to their first highly-publicized campaign has so far been somewhat mixed.

Bob Garfield of MediaPost, for example, was not particularly impressed, calling the ad “utterly unnoticeable … Nobody will ever see it.” If only the company had listened to his wise counsel and dropped Peanuts years ago…

We were more interested in a series of small business profiles that ran over the summer as part of the “Anything But Small” campaign. Argonaut also created these spots, which had a little bit more of that human touch.

MetLife is struggling a bit to differentiate itself at the moment or figure out what it wants to be in the next iteration of its history. The campaign has been running in major print publications and in certain markets in Mexico, Korea and Japan.

“We are embarking on a journey to up-end the long-entrenched norms of the insurance industry,” Lee said regarding the new campaign, and we think it fair to say the company has a ways to go.

Their building is still really cool, though.