Travelers’ new campaign

I have no awareness of the American insurance brand Travelers, except for the fact that my boss at Social@Ogilvy, John Bell had joined them as the digital head after he quit Ogilvy. So, when I stumbled on this new campaign by Travelers, the name rang a small bell, but that’s about it.

I really loved this new campaign by them – truly excellent work by TBWA\Chiat\Day New York. And I’m glad it’s a 4-film series because there’s so much to observe and write about this campaign!

Film 1 – Legacy:

Film 2 – Footsteps:

Film 3 – Chair:

Film 4 – The Drive:

1. Insurance is one category where brands use negative reinforcements generously – ‘If you don’t insure, this will happen’ tone. LIC’s Jeevan Anand even has the slogan, Zindagi Ke Saath Bhi, Zindagi Ke Baad Bhi! But it is good to see an insurance brand use heartfelt emotional plots to only incidentally refer to the need for insurance. It’s not explicitly pointed out as a chore that needs to be considered, but simply as a life decision that should just be taken. And how that decision helps people piece their lives together after something shakes it up.

2. There is a specific narrative device in each of the 4 videos. In Legacy (my favorite of the four), the device is a daughter’s interest in the father’s hardware business. In Footsteps, it is a daughter’s interest in drawing. In the Chair, it is, well… a chair! And a song played in the car is the device in The Drive! The device appears multiple times in each film, often in different time periods of the lead characters in each film, anchoring the story-telling, making it easier for us to relate to the films.

3. Except for the Chair, that focuses on the son, the other 3 films feature daughters! And, both Legacy and Footsteps feature the bond between the father and daughter, while The Drive connects the daughter with her mother.

4. Three films (except the Chair) showcase an accident, but without getting too serious or maudlin. They are shown as a slice of life and that life must go on (with help from Travelers, of course, which is the point!).

5. The level of detailing in each film is fantastic! My favorite moment among all 4 films was when, in Legacy, the daughter helps her father find something while in her prom dress and the date waiting for her impatiently! That was a fantastic piece of imagination! In the Chair, the use of the Chair across so many interesting time periods was beautifully imagined and crisply depicted too. In the Footsteps, the father recognizing his daughter’s talent happens at a moment when there’s nothing in the shop (after an accident) – in that nothing, he finds something to hold on to!

6. Interestingly, in Legacy, when the daughter takes over the shop, the board at the top still says ‘McCafferty & Son’. It is possible that the name was coined when the great-grandfather started the shop, but it could also be read as the McCafferty girl and her son (shown along with his grandfather in the last few shots)! The board not being changed to ‘McCafferty & Daughter’ cannot be nitpicked because then, the tone and purpose of the film would be vastly different, from the focus on insurance. Remember Star Plus’s Nayi Soch film starring Aamir Khan?