belairdirect references movie musicals with its latest ‘cinematic’ ads

Who: belairdirect and Sid Lee, with Ruffian, Saints Editorial, Embassy, Fort York, Alter Ego, Vapor/BLVD and PHD Montreal. Directed by The Bobbsey Twins from Homicide.

What: “The Gangs,” a continuation of the “cinematic” platform the home and auto insurance brand introduced last year. “We’ve found this appeals to the audience and captures their attention,” says Humberto Valencia, vice-president marketing and digital strategy at belairdirect.

When & Where: The campaign debuted today (March 9) and is running across TV, online, radio, digital, out-of-home and social, with a particular emphasis on Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.

Why: The campaign touts belairdirect’s home claim and accident forgiveness, which protect customers’ premiums from increasing due to their first claim.

How: The spot is in keeping with the insurance brand’s decision to adopt what it has described as a storytelling approach to its marketing, with ads like this and this. The 30-second spot is a nod to musicals like West Side Story, except in this case a motorist who suddenly encounters the teens dancing in the street swerves to avoid them and ends up crashing his car into a house.

That produces a lot of angst among both the driver and the homeowner (“what’ve you dance fighters done?” asks the homeowner), until they’re informed that their premiums won’t go up. The brand’s “Little Knight” mascot also makes a return, this time clad in a leather jacket.

Wait, a West Side Story reference in 2020? Well yes and no. “We’re referencing Golden Age musicals of the 1950s and not one movie in particular,” says Valencia. “We believe musicals have always been part of the cultural landscape and that even the youngest will understand the references.”

But West Side Story in particular has kind of become a thing again. A version of the story, restaged for millennial audiences, recently opened on Broadway, and there’s a Steven Spielberg-directed movie set to appear in December.

And we quote:  “We have been evolving belairdirect’s advertising properties and brand, and this light-hearted, colourful and playful approach is the next step.”  —Humberto Valencia, vice-president marketing & digital strategy, belairdirect.

Chris Powell