In Its New Ad Campaign, Small-Business Insurer Hiscox Asks if America Has ‘Lost Its Courage’

New campaign celebrates risk taking

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Insurance companies’ ad campaigns typically focus on security and avoiding risk, but since 2014, small-business insurer Hiscox has taken a different approach, with a marketing strategy based on embracing risk. It’s tagline: “Encourage courage.”

Hiscox’s new campaign, developed with agency of record gyro and debuting with a full-page ad in The Wall Street Journal today, laments the state of small business in the U.S., asking, “Has America lost its courage?” and “When did the visionaries trying to improve the future get replaced by people just trying to improve profits for the next quarter?” The ad ends on a hopeful note, however: “There’s never been a more important time to be an independent thinker,” and “Has America lost its courage? We think not.”

“The general insurance industry often talks about what you have to lose if you don’t buy insurance, but fear is a short-term motivator,” said Hiscox’s CMO Russ Findlay. “Fear-based tactics don’t inspire people to buy into your message. It’s about people embracing risk, and the positive power of risk, not the paralyzing power of it.”

Despite the ad’s allusions to dark times, it has nothing to do with the current political climate, Findlay said.

“I could see how people may think that it’s quite timely given the current political situation, though,” he explained. “If anything, maybe we were slightly ahead of the curve.”

Other ads in the campaign, which use “My impossible” as their tagline, feature stories from Hiscox customers who overcame personal challenges to start small businesses. A red apostrophe derived from Hiscox’s fleur-de-lis logo is used to break up the word impossible and make it “i’mpossible.”

“It was born out of the idea of continuing to personalize and humanize the idea of ‘encourage courage,’” Findlay said. “We’re telling you what we believe in and putting a human face on it. We’re trying to stand for something that’s relatable and inspiring.”

@ChristineBirkne Christine Birkner is a Chicago-based freelance writer who covers marketing and advertising.