Belairdirect shelves the knight for new storytelling approach

Who: Belairdirect, Sid Lee, PHD Montreal (media) Ruffian (production), Saints (post-production), Vapor/BLVD (sound).

What: A new bilingual campaign introducing the brand’s new storytelling approach to marketing. The campaign debuted with two moody 30-second cinema-style spots—one English and French (plus 15-second cut-downs)—directed by The Bobbsey Twins from Homicide. The spots, “The Boss” and “The House,” show Belairdirect customers adroitly handling potentially perilous situations: an encounter with a mob boss and a possibly haunted house.

When & Where: The campaign debuted today and is running across multiple channels, including TV, digital, radio and out-of-home.

Why: Internal research found that in some cases, Canadians feel powerless about insurance because they have a limited understanding about how to buy and use it. The campaign demonstrates how Belairdirect tools including Home Claim Forgiveness and Quick Quote Car and Home are intended to simplify its clients’ life and help them be more confident in their coverage.

So no more knight? First introduced in 2013, the knight character —played by actor Jason Bryden in English Canada and François Maranda in Quebec—is gone, but he’s not entirely forgotten. The TV spots re-introduce the animated “Little Knight” mascot that has been a mainstay of Belairdirect’s non-video assets (digital, billboards and print).

“He’s an imaginary but tangible character,” says Humberto Valencia, vice-president marketing and digital strategy, with Belairdirect. “To us, he truly exists and has the ability to connect with audiences. We’re thrilled to give him a bigger role in our television spots, as he’s a communications agent whose approach helps bring out the essence of the message.”

Was it a hard decision? “Our medieval knight and his humorous approach has been our core storytelling device for several years—and it’s been successful, but we want to go in a direction which demonstrates how we are an insurance provider that helps customers to always feel confident and provide peace of mind that they have the coverage they need,” says Valencia.

“Our new direction helps us tell our story in a simpler, more impactful way, while also allowing us to connect more authentically. We want to be memorable and our new cinematic-focused approach will do that for us, including the re-introduction of our animated knight as part of our brand signature. We thought now was the time to let the Little Knight shine and is why we are giving him more space.”

(Note: The headline for this article has been updated to reflect the fact that Belairdirect hasn’t killed the knight, but is merely “sidelining” him for now)


Chris Powell