Belairdirect wants to help your dinged-up car feel oh-so-pretty again

Who: Belairdirect and Sid Lee, with Ruffian for production, plus Saints Editorial, Embassy VFX, Alter Ego and Fort York VFX for post-production, and Vapor RMW and BLVD for audio. Media by PHD Montreal. TV spot directed by The Bobbsey Twins from Homicide.

What: “Pretty,” a new campaign that continues with the cinema-inspired approach to advertising the insurance company first introduced last year. It ladders up to the company’s longstanding brand platform, “Insurance simplified.”

When & Where: The campaign broke last week and runs until the beginning of November across TV, online, radio, cinema and social. The media buy from PHD is concentrated on Ontario, Quebec and Alberta.

Why: It’s part of a deliberate strategy by the brand to shift away from the more promotional messaging that characterized its marketing, to an approach that underscores how easy it is for people to do business with the company, says vice-president of marketing and strategy, Marie-Pierre Leclerc.

The new cinematic approach has not only boosted Belairdirect’s awareness scores, she says, but has also had a positive effect on attributes including likability, brand linkage and purchase intent. “We’ve received very positive feedback to this platform.”

How: The campaign’s :30 anchor spot (shot pre-COVID) feels like a companion piece to this year’s musical-inspired ad “The Gangs,” but this time using the song “I Feel Pretty” from West Side Story for its soundtrack. A blend of live-action and animation, the ad opens on a fender-bender before cutting to a man quickly and easily submitting a claim through the company’s app.

The story in the new campaign is told from the cars’ perspective, with anthropomorphic cars singing about how they feel pretty again now that they’re being fixed, while overall-clad mechanics dance around the cars in a choreographed routine. Belair’s Knight mascot also makes an appearance, this time wheeling a tire across the shop floor.

“It demonstrates in a very joyful way that when an accident happens, managing your claim with belairdirect is very simple,” says Leclerc. “We wanted to tap into the universal truth that people want to always feel in control.”

OOH ads focus on the simplicity messaging, and there is also a 15-second sing-along video featuring the song’s lyrics with the company’s knight mascot replacing the bouncing ball used to help people follow along with the lyrics.

The Quebec side story: The French version of the campaign uses the same visuals, but swaps out “I feel pretty” for a similarly joyful song by the popular Quebec singer René Simard called “Chante la vie.” “We always think about how we can tailor our approach to each market, and West Side Story wasn’t really part of Quebec culture,” says Leclerc. “[Chante la vie] is very simple to sing and people recognize it quite easily.”

And we quote: “Depicting the claims process in a light and playful way demonstrates the simplicity we promise. Though entertaining, this campaign taps into the universal need to feel control, something that may feel a bit lost these days. With belairdirect’s claims process and digital tools, customers will have this control knowing that their claim will be done right.” —Marie-Pierre Lecler, vice-president of marketing and digital strategy, Belairdirect

Chris Powell