These Cinematic AAA Spots Focus on Brand’s Insurance Plans Instead of Roadside Service

Life on the scenic route

In a new campaign for AAA, San Francisco agency Muh-tay-zik | Hof-fer tries to "re-imagine" the venerable American brand by focusing on how its insurance offerings—not just its roadside assistance—improve the quality of everyday life.

"We love the idea of taking a big, trusted American brand and breathing new life into it," says John Matejczyk, the agency's executive creative director. "AAA already had enormous trust. But we saw an opportunity to increase their relevance."

The multimedia push includes digital, social, radio and out-of-home elements, and a pair of low-key, minute-long TV spots. Each selects a visual focus around which to spin its story.

In "Miles of Life," a car's odometer sets the pace, counting down 160,000 miles in the existence of both the vehicle and the family that owns it. (Customers use their car insurance every 160,000 miles on average, according to AAA.)

"Car Selfies" puts the vehicle at the center of the frame, with the action taking place around it over long periods of time.

In each commercial, a voiceover explains that AAA helps drivers get more every day: Roadside assistance, help planning trips, and savings on clothes, restaurants, event tickets and hotel rooms. That's an appealing message, though the tagline, "Insurance that's not just insurance," is a misfire.

Neither spot is innovative nor a "re-imagining" in the true sense of the word. Even so, the ads are novel for the category, and effectively convey the role AAA can play in providing car owners and their vehicles with a smoother ride through life.

@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.