Nationwide Insurance Still On Your Side, And So Is Julia Roberts


Nationwide Insurance doesn’t think it gets enough credit from customers and other consumers for being “on your side” in auto-insurance matters. Cue a new branding campaign tied to the biggest sports event on the calendar and to one of America’s best-liked actresses to make the point.

On Friday July 27th, during the prime-time telecast of the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics on NBC, Nationwide will debut new TV campaign featuring the distinctive voice of actress Julia Roberts, whose Lancôme campaign for L’Oréal was banned in the U.K. last year for airbrushing.

“‘Nationwide Is On Your Side’ is a familiar tagline and jingle, but not many people understand exactly what it means,” Matt Jauchius, Nationwide’s chief marketing and strategy officer, said in a press release about the new “Join the Nation” campaign. “Our goal wth this campaign is to tell the story of who we are as a company and what our On Your Side promise truly stands for — doing what’s right for our members and protecting the things and the people they hold dear.”[more]

Among other things, Nationwide wants to get away from its recent approach to advertising, which fairly could be criticized as me-too. Like many other car-insurance brands — including Progressive, Geico, Esurance and State Farm — Nationwide has been leveraging humor to get attention and maintain awareness in a very stiffly competitive market based increasingly on price. For the past three years, it has relied on the unctious stylings of an actor who has played Nationwide’s pitchman.

The company is moving away from what Jauchius called “a yuk and a phone number” approach to Marketing Daily“We are not removing the humor completely, but we are going from irreverent humor to what everyday people can relate to,” he told the publication.

Thus, the creative highlights the company’s mutual structure, which puts the interestes of members first rather than shareholders, and other ways in which Nationwide cares about its customers. “We believe people want more from an insurance company, and we want customers to know that while insurance policies may seem to be a commodity, care and protection are not,” stated Jennifer Hanley, SVP of brand marketing for Nationwide Insurance. “When we were considering how to bring our message to life, we were looking for a familiar voice that would bring our brand attributes to life. Julia Roberts’ voice brings an assuring, confident tone to the campaign that resonates well with our target audience.”

The first commercial — “Anthem,” running as a 30- and 60-second spot — celebrates the lives of Nationwide members and all that being part of this special member community has to offer.

The second ad, “Disappear,” focuses on Nationwide’s Vanishing Deductible product, an option for members that rewards them for safe driving. This ad will begin running in August.

In addition, a unique digital-based strategy has been created to engage agents, current customers and potential customers through a number of social media channels. A dedicated campaign website,, will provide ongoing, protection-oriented content that encourages participation from members and other key audiences.

Clearly some Americans will miss the “Nationwide is on your side” jingle in a way that compares with scraping fingernails across a blackboard. But maybe now they’ll start to focus on the company more.