Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Virginia Tech Shooting w/ Life Insurance

I'm sure I'm not the only one who noticed this, but on the same page as the horrific shootings going on at the Virginia Tech campus, CNN ran an advertisement for Life Insurance with copy that reads, "Dad, What would happen to me and mommy... if you died?" (not that kids actually talk like that, mind you)

AccuQuote, it's bad enough to guilt people into buying your product using kids, but the advertising companies need to realize that having "Death" in the story shouldn't automatically throw up a life insurance ad.

Enough shame to go around here, CNN, AccuQuote, and whomever did the sell for that ad!


  1. I agree that it doesn't look good to have our company ads next to the VA Tech shooting story. As the VP of Marketing and Business Development for AccuQuote, I can tell you that the ads were not served based on anything contextual. We advertise on a large scale with CNN, and our ad being displayed was part of a normal ad rotation. It could just have easily shown up next to a baseball story. When we noticed our ads running next to this story (within 1 hour of the story breaking), we contacted our CNN rep and had our campaign pulled for nearly 72 hours. Also, we ran ads with a different tone on all of our news related ad buys until this story was not being featured and read as much on those sites.
    While the message we were running wasn't a good one in the context of showing up next to the VA Tech shooting story, the message stikes accord with many consumers. AccuQuote is a life insurance brokerage, and while most people don't like to talk or think about death, it's the nature of the product we sell.

  2. Sean,

    Thanks for commenting. I know that your product is life insurance, and death is a part of the business -- but let's put the shooting aside for a second, I stand by my comment that I feel the tone of the ad (as blunt as it is) is in poor taste.

    However, if it's working for AccuQuote, more power to ya, I suppose...


  3. Right. It's much better to go through life pretending that bad things never happen. As for the ad the question is 100% legitimate and one I ask as a parent on a nearly daily basis. Perhaps you should try having kids first in order to gain some perspective? As for kids not talking like that, a few years a go my son was learning about the planet in the 2nd or 3rd grade. One topic covered was earthquakes. On the eve of my taking a trip out to California my son completely lost it. He started crying about how earthquakes kill people and Cali has quakes so in his mind 1+1=2 and he asked me something along the lines of who would take care of him if I died. The ad is a perfect ad. It is not dishonest or ambiguous in any way and presents reality, apparently something with which you are unfamiliar. You might prefer living in a fantasy world. Thankfully not all of us do.

  4. @Keith—I wasn't sure how to respond to your comment. For a while I wasn't even sure if I even *would* respond, being that my blog hasn't been active since 2008.

    But I guess I'm a sucker for conversation, so I'll take a crack at your comments:

    - First off, thank you for commenting on my blog. I'm not sure how you found me, but hello, and welcome! You might want to head over to http://www.deepmustard.com to see the stuff I'm up to these days.
    - Second, I *do* have offspring, and I love them very, very much.
    - Third, I was in NYC on 9/11, (and my son saw what happened that day) so I know all about trying to comfort an upset child while being honest, truthful, and factual (those last two items are not mutually exclusive).
    - As for the "fantasy world" comment, I'll pretend I didn't read that ;-)
    - I'm sure of the authenticity of the ad in question, as a rep from the company responded that they had pulled it.

    My comments were strictly about how these robo-ads scan an article for keywords and place ads. If a human being were actually doing the work, they would have seen the conflict and placed a different ad in it's place. That is all.



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