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AccuQuote Makes a Good Call

Last Friday, I wrote a post about a banner ad from AccuQuote, a service that can be used to compare insurance offerings. I complained that the banner was offensive because it showed a dead body, covered with a sheet and with a toe tag attached, under the headline “Everybody Dies.” The purpose of this post is to highlight the response I got from Sean Cheyney, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for AccuQuote, which shows that this company is listening to the feedback and getting on a more meaningful track.

On Tuesday, Sean made the following comment on my post, which bears highlighting here:

Bob,

Thanks for sharing your views about this ad. You are correct in your assessment that we feel our service, and more importantly life insurance in general, is extremely important. It’s our passion as an organization.

The fact that we’re dealing with a product that involves death makes marketing a sticky situation. You can’t really sidestep the nature of the product without producing lousy non-impactful ads. That said, sometimes the always moving line is crossed. Sometimes we have to go out on a limb and test when we’re in this gray area. It turns out that the positive response rate on this ad was very high. Regardless, we’ve taken your criticism as well as a few others constructively and pulled the ad.”

I really respect Sean’s comment and his company’s decision. The reality is that in these tough economic times, it is even harder to make a call like this with a banner ad that is working well. What if a job is lost or a bonus is cut because of this decision to take a higher road? Anyone who has worked at a small business knows that little things like this can count for a lot.

But great business leadership and long-term success depends on doing the right thing. So kudos to Sean and his team. I’m excited that I will have the chance to spend more time with him personally at the iMedia Brand Summit in September, and hope to offer him some meaningful marketing ideas for his next campaign.

One Response to “AccuQuote Makes a Good Call”

  1. Bob Burns says:

    I, too, was disturbed by this ad. As a marketer, however, I was struck with something like cognitive dissonance – it worked for me and repelled me! I empathize with Mr. Cheyney and don’t envy being in that position – especially with an ad that apparently was working. On the same topic I have issues with TV ads for feminine products, sexual performance enhancement products, and other bodily functions… but maybe I’m not in the target market so it doesn’t really matter?

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