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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The mystery of e-sure’s mouse

Esure.com is a successful UK insurance company that gets a lot of business from the 50-plus. Unlike RIAS (see previous post) it targets by setting conditions on the insurance cover it will accept that favours older people.

For a long time esure’s ads used a UK ‘personality’ call Michael Winner. He is one of these guys who has made a great living out of being objectionable (he once was a film director).

Esure decided that Michael’s time had come and replaced him with a mouse.

The story was that esure was trying to broaden its customer base and wanted to get away from its boring old bugger image that was exemplified by MW. Mouse ads started to appear and then suddenly vanished.

Before long back came MW - see his latest ad.



What did this change of heart mean? I guessed that focus groups showed that Brits dislike mice even more than they do MW. Maybe the campaign had failed and esure was back trying to milk its oldie market.

The answer is nothing as logical as this but is all to do with lawyers. It seems that esure’s mouse was accused of being a close relation to another UK insurance company’s (Direct Line) cartoon telephone. So for the last two years the keenest legal minds in the UK have been deciding if a mouse looks like telephone, during which time the British public has had to endure more of Michael Winner. Crazy. Dick Stroud

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