How Do Brands Respond to Periods of Uncertainty? By Going Meta

With hopes that the lighthearted campaigns will forge bonds with viewers

In Esurance’s latest marketing campaign, actor Dennis Quaid nonchalantly opens the spot by telling viewers that he, star of The Parent Trap and A Dog’s Purpose, is now appearing in an insurance campaign because he is “highly likeable.” He points out the overly dramatic music kicking in, and the kitchen he enters has prop apples, not real ones. It’s all part of a meta-marketing trend that is resurfacing, where a brand and its spokesperson clue the consumer in that they’re watching an ad. Think Anna Kendrick in Newcastle’s 2014 faux Super Bowl ad where the actress addresses the camera head on to discuss the fact that she was almost in a big-budget ad campaign before the brand realized the ad buy was too expensive.

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This story first appeared in the September 24, 2018, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.