Nationwide Tells True Tales

Nationwide Insurance focuses on actual employees and their customer stories in a new campaign from TM Advertising that broke this week.

The effort features TV spots directed by Oscar-winning documentarian Errol Morris in which customer service representatives and claims adjusters tell stories in their own words.

In one, Jackie Walker repeats a common refrain from insurance customers (“All you do is you take my money and then when I have an accident, there’s a problem”) before mentioning Nationwide’s accident forgiveness practice, which prevents rates from rising after a claim. The spot ends with Walker saying, “My name is Jackie Walker and I am on your side.”

The end line refrain is backed by a simple piano version of the melody from Nationwide’s familiar jingle.

The campaign, which also includes print and radio ads, online content and branded entertainment messaging, replaces Nationwide’s previous “Life comes at you fast” effort, which began in 2004 and used celebrities to comically illustrate what can happened if you’re not prepared.

The new approach is meant to be “more genuine and approachable,” explained Steven Schreibman, vice president of advertising and brand management and advertising at Nationwide in Columbus, Ohio. As such, some of the final cuts include verbal flubs to underscore that the subjects are employees not actors.

The TV work, which was shot in three days at a soundstage in Burbank, Calif., will also be seen via a link on Nationwide’s Web site, with behind-the-scenes footage and longer-form cuts. Choosing from a pool of 100 potential subjects, Morris shot 20 and more than a half-dozen will be used on TV this year, said Schreibman.

To spread the work online, the subjects will post links on their Facebook and MySpace pages and e-mail links to their friends, according to Schriebman. A couple of Twitterers at Nationwide also will post updates on that service.

Schriebman declined to disclose the campaign’s budget. Last year, the company spent more than $210 million in U.S. major measured media (excluding online spending), according to Nielsen.

Interpublic Group’s TM, Nationwide’s lead creative agency since 1998, is currently defending its account in a review that’s down to two agencies.

Schriebman declined to name the other shop, but four agencies previously pitched ideas to client executives: MDC Partners’ Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners in New York; Interpublic Group’s Carmichael Lynch in Minneapolis; independent McKinney in Durham, N.C.; and TM in Dallas. ABA Consulting in Addison, Texas, is managing the process.

Source: Adweek.com