Banner Advertisement

Liberty Mutual – Doing the Right Thing?

Posted on | April 20, 2009 | 3 Comments

By Holly Buchanan
Let me ask you a question – if you are a big name insurance company, do you want people coming to your website and duking it out with personal opinions about Octomom, teen pregnancy, spying on your kids and whether your school should be allowed to put on a production of the musical Rent?

I’m completely serious.

This is a little bit tough for me to write about because I have really mixed feelings about Liberty Mutual’s latest marketing campaign promoting “responsibility” and their new website

Are the subjects addressed on important subjects that deserve to be discussed in a thoughtful and responsible matter?  Absolutely.  And there is a part of me that admires Liberty Mutual’s courage for providing a forum for those discussions.

But do you want those very strong and very polarizing discussions associated with your insurance brand?? 

I get that Liberty Mutual is trying to create a brand synonymous with responsibility.   I loved their earlier commercials showing people doing just every day acts of responsibility and kindness.  The tagline on the commercial is – “When it’s people doing the right thing, they call it responsible.  When it’s an insurance company, they call it Liberty Mutual. Responsibility -what’s your policy.”

The company got a huge positive response to the commercial.   So they decided to take it one step further.

Here’s why the new campaign is problematic.   We can all agree that the “responsible acts” in the ealier commercial were positive acts – letting people into traffic, pushing someone out of the way from falling boxes, making sure a guy doesn’t knock over his coffee.   We can all agree those are positive responsible acts.

But the new commercials feature acts like- parents sneaking into their daughter’s room pulling up information from her laptop.  Now, the idea is that they want to protect her, but boy is that a controversial scene.  Parents will ikely have strong and mixed reactions to this commercial about spying on your daughter.   Is it an important subject to bring up?  Absolutely – but do you want those strong, possibly negative reactions associated with your brand?  What about parents who DON’T think that’s the right thing?

The other problem with the new commercials is the new subject line – “Doing the right thing says a lot about a person…and a company.”   That “and a company” thrown in at the end ruins it for me.  Here we have people, or a family “doing the right thing” – and it feels like Liberty Mutual is trying to ride on their coattails.  What does the family behaving responsibly have to do with Liberty Mutual behaving responsibly?  

It feels like they are trying to hijack my positive emotions, and tie them into the Liberty Mutual Brand, yet I have seen nothing from Liberty Mutual to make me think they are a responsible company.  

The slogan in the previous commerical had a more definitive separation between people doing the right thing, and a company doing the right thing.    (Which they still didn’t back up with any information on what Liberty Mutual is doing to be responsible.)   But, for me, the old slogan didn’t generate this visceral, negative reaction that the new one did. 

Which brings me back to my original point.   Is talking about highly charged and polarizing subjects the best way to get people to think of Liberty Mutual as responsible?   Or, if people have a negative, visceral reaction, is that what will be associated with the brand?

This is a tough call.  As I said, I admire Liberty Mutual’s work here to provide a forum for these important discussions.  But moving from acts that everyone agrees are “doing the right thing” to more controversial acts which can generate highly charged negative feelings – I don’t know how that’s going to play out in the end.  We’ll see.


3 Responses to “Liberty Mutual – Doing the Right Thing?”

  1. Najma
    April 22nd, 2009 @ 2:06 am

    sometimes its difficult to understand what people really mean by their acts..Iam not from US,so..cant really give my opinion on it.

  2. Laura
    April 22nd, 2009 @ 6:32 pm

    It’s certainly a brave experiment that I applaud – we’re talking about it aren’t we? But I do share your uneasiness about the forum (I’m not a member.)

    As a mother, I can’t bear forums like that because parenting is different for everyone and I’ve seen parenting “discussions” become mean incredibly mean-spirited – not my idea of a good time. Wonder what it makes the participants think of Liberty for supporting it – I’m sure the company has asked the participants (or have then?)

  3. Evelyn Belangia
    August 2nd, 2011 @ 4:57 pm

    This is hilarious to me because I am having an experience of my own the proves that Liberty Mutual does not practice what they preach. Fannie Mae foreclosed on a home beside my storage building and because of incompetence on the part of three companies that Fannie Mae hired, the lock on my building was cut off and they threw away everything I had, from handmade Christianizing dress and handmade mother’s day cards and Christmas ornamentsto everything I had stored to go in the new house I’m building. Over $80,000 of belongings.
    This was 11-12-2010 and now on 8-2-2011 I haven’t received a penny to replace anything. Fannie Mae left it up to the companies they hired to fight it out. Now the company that has taken blame has turned it over to their insurance, Liberty Mutual. That is they did in late May 2011. It is now Aug. 2, 2011 and they still haven’t paid the claim. It took them nine days to get me a letter because they didn’t have a phone number for me from the company that made the claim. Instead of calling or emailing them they sent me a form letter that they had attempted to reach me. My conversations with the insurance rep. have been “I takes time to investigate…We are almost their…You have to realize it’s a lot of money.” To hear that their motto is “Doing the Right Thing” is shocking. I have explained how it has been nine months and I am without everything and have only gotten the “Yours isn’t the claim we have.” They were given 56 pages of investigation back in May and they are still waiting for people to get back to them. If Doing the right thing says a lot about people…and a company then not giving a hoot says a lot more. Here is your example for the commercials of Liberty Mutual Doing the Right thing. Like all other big companies especially Fannie Mae they don’t care about anyone other them themselves.

Leave a Reply