Best's Review



Insurance Marketing
Sailing Ahead

Erie Insurance sponsors Tall Ships Challenge Great Lakes and Farmers Insurance has debuted its first three-part episodic ad series.
  • Lori Chordas
  • March 2019
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Trade Winds

ERIE INSURANCE is once again sailing ahead with its sponsorship of the Tall Ships Challenge Great Lakes. This is the fourth year of the property/casualty insurer's official sponsorship of the race series.

This year's Tall Ships Challenge spans all five Great Lakes and aims to preserve the maritime heritage of North America through sail training and education. The annual race series rotates between the Great Lakes, the Pacific Coast and the Atlantic Coast.

The 2019 races series event will begin on June 30 in Toronto where a fleet of more than two dozen tall ships will sail to Buffalo; Cleveland; Kingsville, Ontario; Erie, Pa. and other ports in the Great Lakes region. The ships will dock in each host city as part of the cities' maritime festivals, which include children's activities and onboard tours and day sails. The challenge will conclude in late August in Brockville, Ontario.

The Tall Ships Challenge Great Lakes allows Erie Insurance to bring “important pieces of history to these cities, while also showing off some of the wonderful places in which we do business,” said Erie Insurance president and CEO Timothy NeCastro.

Erie Insurance also will be sponsoring 20 students from Pennsylvania's Erie County in the Exploring the Great Lakes high school program. The program provides students the opportunity to live aboard the tall ship Brig Niagara with a crew and experience sea life by helping to prepare, sail and maintain the ship.



FARMERS INSURANCE is taking advertising to a new level with its inaugural three-part ad series based on its popular “We Know From Experience” campaign. The 30-second episodic ads, entitled “Parking Splat” and “Fly-By Ballooning,” are running on Hulu as individual episodes, with sequential ads featuring a story arc and cliffhangers and twists.

Farmers debuted its episodic ads during CNN's New Year's Eve special.

The insurer opted for a three-part sequential storyline approach to “tell a good story,” said Leesa Eichberger, head of brand at Farmers. “People become frustrated when seeing the same ads over and over again in a streaming environment. One of the things we love about our 'We Know From Experience' campaign is that the ads are fun and engaging. We wanted permission to be in people's living rooms and to entertain them with ads while still telling a compelling story,” she said.

Over-the-top TV platforms such as Hulu are attracting the attention of advertisers. A 30-second video ad on Hulu generates a 61% increase in top-of-mind awareness and a 22% increase in purchase intent versus linear TV ads, according to Hulu.

Farmers' “We Know From Experience” campaign, based on insight that Farmers agents know a thing or two because they've seen a thing or two, won two Effie Awards last year. The awards recognize all forms of marketing communication that contribute to a brand's success. Also in 2018, Ace Metrics named Farmers' “Parking Splat” spot the funniest ad of the year, Eichberger said.


Lori Chordas is a senior associate editor. She can be reached at

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