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Deep Dive Case Study: Challenger Brand Branding.


Plymouth Rock Assurance Company, a $2B+ written premium P & C insurance company operating in the US Northeast, grew as an auto insurance through independent insurance distribution channels. As its business strategy shifted to include direct auto (Core Direct) and home business units, the company needed a brand platform that could work at the enterprise and business unit levels (i.e., IA Auto, Direct Auto, and Home).


Americans view auto and home insurance as unavoidable – something they must have to secure loans or drive on the road. Challenger brands must define who they are while creating favorability and relevance. In the face of competitor media budgets in the billions, the first step for challengers is name recognition.


People will invest time researching products or services they are interested in and can make informed decisions. Known as active processing, categories for which consumer interest and ability are high can adopt persuasion-based marketing. Insurance is a category where people have neither interest nor ability. This means consumers are making decisions using passive or automatic thinking. Insurance marketers should use salience-based marketing, adopting metaphors and archetypes to help people feel positive about their brand.


With single-digit brand awareness, Coologee created an enterprise brand platform that could be modified by the three business units (IA, Home, and Direct Auto) to build familiarity and relevance. The enterprise brand platform included a) Brand Creative, b) Sports Marketing, and c) Brand Media Test.

A) Brand Creative. Job one was establishing a brand platform that improved brand recognition and relevance. PRAC launched to be a friendlier insurance company, the brand needed to use its regional market positional and hands-on service value proposition to differentiate the brand.

Working with creative partner Hey Let’s Go, Coologee created the ‘You Got Rocked’ campaign, tying the brand name to its customer experience differentiator. First-round creative featured Judas Priest’s Rob Halford riffing about the customer experience as a couple discussed their bundled insurance options. Round two moved to vignettes featuring items the customer valued, bringing the ‘rocked’ experience alive through motion.

b) Sports Marketing. As a top sports marketer in New England, Plymouth Rock had an opportunity to own its big brand position and reduce production costs by creating one campaign featuring all three major sports sponsorships: Red Sox, Bruins, and Celtics.

With Hey Let’s Go, Coologee created the award-winning ‘The Bostonians’ campaign created hometown hero vibes while demonstrating its market leadership.

Coologee also helped negotiate digital media as part of the broader sponsorship deal.

C) Brand Media Test. To establish a ‘brand factor,’ Coologee designed a multi-state brand test, using test and control markets to measure brand spending impact on business unit performance metrics. Coologee worked with a media partner to create two three-month brand tests that utilized a matched-market approach to isolating brand impact. Coologee also worked with internal business leaders and analysts to create a brand scorecard, combining marketing and business data to enable informed decision-making.


  • ‘You Got Rocked’ campaigns outperformed controls.
  • While running The Bostonians, the IA channel saw growth in online visits and quote-starts.
  • The Brand Campaign matched market test showed ‘kitchen-sink’ results from the brand – when the campaign was on, website visits and branded search volumes increased. When the brand campaign was not in the market, the results immediately returned to average.
  • All results were earned within the first nine months of the partnership.

Creative Credits: Hey Let's Go!