As a companion-piece to last week’s look at the state of British car insurance marketing I’m moved to present the following viral advert from Romania, which features two women dressed in lingerie crashing into one another on space hoppers.

The advertisement has been so wildly successful that links to it on Google greatly outnumber links to the insurer’s own website – to the extent that it’s hard for me even to be sure what the firm is called.

It could well be ASIROM, Romanian partners in the Austrian VIENNA Insurance Group, and more specifically ASIROM’s motoring insurance division which I believe is called RCA. The letters RCA do get some screen time (without getting in the way of the ladies, of course) along with a Romanian script which various sources quote as saying:

"In case of an accident: get out of the car / and inspect the damage / ask the guilty driver for an RCA insurance policy / fill in the friendly ascertainment form / if you can't reach an agreement, a police officer can settle your dispute / always buy RCA insurance."

Predictably, the viral succeeds in being something most men would want to look at – but as an advert for car insurance, it falls rather wide of the mark for British tastes (mine, anyway).

Here, humour is the preferred sweetener for the bitter pill of rates, deals and telephone numbers normally meted out by car insurance commercials – I’m thinking of the GoCompare singer in his underwear and have to admit that his singing may be preferable.

Image © Bert23 via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence



Car insurance adverts are getting cooler

Anybody who, like me, watches too much television will have noticed that car insurance advertising is enjoying a kind of renaissance at the moment.

Work by the cheap and irritating school of advert making has been replaced over the past few months by adverts which are actually bearable to watch four or five times over - and in a few cases they are genuinely funny, too.

The change was spearheaded by comparethemarket.com’s ‘compare the meerkat’ commercials, which were and continue to be inoffensive slices of cute randomness, seemingly unconnected (but for a spelling mistake) with the drab world of affordable premiums and no-claims bonuses.

The genius of these adverts is a realisation that most people would rather not think about car insurance for any more time than is necessary to buy it. It is enough – in fact, it is preferable - just to mention the brand name half a dozen times so you know what to search for at renewal time.

Next to comparethemarket some mention must be made of the Go Compare trails which, while murderously annoying to begin with, have entered an impressively creative phase of late. The advertising people who came up with the original ‘it’s only a tenner/tenor’ gag have been hard at work transplanting it into a variety of surreal contexts; most recently that of a silent movie.

With the soundtrack stripped down to the tinkling of a western piano, what was really annoying (i.e. the singing) about previous versions of the commercial is effectively muted - leaving a creative and actually quite watchable thirty seconds.

Despite these and other improvements in the general standard of car insurance marketing, I was still shocked by the outright funniness of the new More Than adverts. The joke is so simple and so deftly told, and I can’t help wondering how many people actually get it – but a Morgan Freeman monologue should be something all of us can relate to, right?

If you think about it, this means More Than are targeting car insurance holders who enjoyed The Shawshank Redemption.

For once, a demographic I am happy to be part of.

Image © .reid. via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence




Did your car suffer whiplash this Christmas?

If you’re anything like me and had to make myriad journeys up down the country this winter in order to commingle with various far-flung friends and family, then chances are that you’ve faced the perils of black ice and pothole-ridden winter roads.

These journeys were not helped by the fact that they always seemed to involve a full car, packed as it was with overfed children, oversized Turkeys and overpriced presents.

As such, now is the time to take stock and consider a bit of basic vehicle maintenance. This is because icy roads can cause cars to slide into curbs and potholes may sometimes result in “vehicle whiplash”.

Vehicle whiplash is when the shock of impact causes a car’s wheels to come out of alignment.

Paul Beurain, managing director of Pro-Align comments, “Although drivers may not notice any difference to the way their car feels after sliding into a kerb or other object, it's important that they have their wheel alignment properly checked.

"Even very low speed impacts can cause significant misalignment or damage to components, especially if they occur at an unusual angle. Many workshops across the country are equipped with the latest four wheel alignment systems which can determine in just a few minutes if a car's alignment needs adjusting."

And since having misaligned wheels can cause an accident its best to get them checked out – otherwise it could ultimately have a negative impact on your chances of receiving a cheap car insurance quote.

Image © Alan Stanton via Flickr under Creative Commons Licence




Driving under Paris skies

Wow, I can’t wait for my summer holiday in Paris. Already, I’m a big fan of the city’s bicycle hire scheme, Vélib, so am practically quivering with excitement at the prospect of the sister car hire scheme.

As part of the plan, Paris transport bosses will place around 3,000 nippy, battery-powered cars at locations around the city.

For only 12 euros a month and around only five euros per half hour, Parisians and visitors alike will be able to hire one of the French-made, lithium metal polymer battery-enabled vehicles and take it round the city of love.

Great news for a tourist like me is the fact the cars all come with GPS and an emergency call button.

The scheme makes a great deal of sense. After all, a recent study by Paris city bosses revealed that cars in the capital spend 95 per cent of the time parked –: a good deal of the remaining five percent is time spent looking for a parking space.

Although I don’t know what the car insurance arrangements are for the hire vehicles, it seems time may be saved on that front as well.

Image © rui ornelas via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence



My super value Christmas

Just for once this Christmas I had the good sense and foresight to plan my presents all in advance.

Even a week before the big day I had everything bought, wrapped and bagged and can’t help but feel extremely satisfied with myself. This year I was also clever enough to use price comparison websites to obtain the cheapest quotes for all my gifts – well done me.

But this is the first year I’ve managed to be so organised and it was only a few years ago that I didn’t even shop around for the cheapest car insurance.

The truth was – that just like with Christmas presents – I simply couldn’t be bothered. But there are major savings to be made.

A recent survey by Virgin Money has revealed that British policyholders could save as much £1.5 billion on their insurance premiums – this figure is combined, obviously, unless you’re George Michael, in which case you may well have to spend several billion on your insurance premium.

Apparently, most of us are not willing to shop around on renewal, unless we’re quoted a policy that is more than 7.4 per cent expensive than the one we’re renewing.

I can almost hear my sixth form school teacher saying, “See, I told you so – all good things come with a bit of work and preparation.”

Image © emdot via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence


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