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Insurance Marketing
Appealing to the Senses

Liberty Mutual is experimenting with scent-based marketing and Sun Life Assurance is sponsoring a national stationary cycle event to fund diabetes research.
  • Lori Chordas
  • August 2019
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New Car Scent

LIBERTY MUTUAL INSURANCE has long relied on sight and sound in its ads, but recently it began experimenting with another one of the five senses to attract car buyers looking for auto insurance.

This spring, Liberty Mutual ran a car-scented ad in an issue of The Chicago Sun-Times to create a subconscious response in shoppers who are test-driving or buying a new car. The print ad included a peel-back fragrance strip that allowed readers to take a whiff of the new-car scent. It included the message: “If you're thinking about a new car, think about Liberty Mutual.”

Research shows that most people wait until they're purchasing a car before they think about getting a car insurance quote, said Jenna Lebel, vice president of brand and integrated marketing at Liberty Mutual. “To engage with consumers during the specific moment when they are making a decision about their car insurance would be difficult—even if we put a large media spend behind it. So, we developed this print ad that would give people a Pavlovian response to catch car buyers at the moment that matters most,” she said.

The sense of smell can largely affect individuals' daily emotions, moods and opinions. Eight out of 10 consumers say they're more likely to purchase if they can smell the product, and people recall 35% of what they smell compared to just 5% of what they see and 2% of what they hear, according to a Scent-It Palette white paper.

Ride for the Cure

SUN LIFE ASSURANCE COMPANY OF CANADA is once again sponsoring a stationary cycle event to support diabetes research. The insurer is the title sponsor of the newly named Sun Life Ride to Defeat Diabetes for JDRF. Formerly the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, JDRF is a nonprofit that funds Type 1 diabetes research and education. This year's event, which is expected to attract more than 11,000 riders, will be held in 35 locations across Canada.

Last year's ride raised more than $3.5 million for Type 1 diabetes research. The disease affects more than 330,000 Canadians, according to the nonprofit group Beyond Type 1.

“At Sun Life, we see firsthand the physical, mental and financial impact diabetes can have on an individual and their family. That's a big part of why we announced our global support of the cause in 2012,” said Sun Life Canada president Jacques Goulet. Since that time, Sun Life has committed more than $25 million in support of diabetes awareness, prevention, care and research initiatives.


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

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