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New York Life Ad Campaign Emphasizes Positive of Both Product and Industry

There's no doubt that fear sells life insurance, but a positive emphasis, delivered with the assistance of collaborative technology, may benefit both New York Life and the industry in general.

Probably everybody has seen those pop-up ads with the little girl kneeling at the graveyard, her back to the viewer, her despondency expressed in her posture. Fear is a perfectly good tactic for selling life insurance, and every complete sales pitch should include a consideration of both threat and benefit. However, New York Life has embarked on a new advertising campaign on the theme of "Keep Good Going" that focuses on the positive, which I think is good for two reasons.

The first reason is related to the fact that fear repels as well as motivates, which is the reason people avoid the doctor — there's a magical level of denial that associates exploring a possibility with causing it. The New York Life campaign emphasizes the good things in life up front, and secondarily how insurance helps to support their continuance. As a voice says at the end of a video commercial, "At New York Life, everything we do is to help keep good going."

The insurer has set up a microsite with a Twitter and Facebook buttons inviting visitors to share a slideshow or sharing life lessons of their own. The site is also organized to give users options in how they want to go about exploring product options.

What's most important to New York Life is that this positive approach succeeds, and with regard to that, time will tell. However, the approach is also valuable for the message that it sends about the role of insurance in stabilizing society. This may seem an academic, tangential observation but the insurance industry is in a constant PR battle. That's a perennial challenge, but technology is providing new ways of opening discussions, demonstrating insurance's utility and even creating new kinds of value, such as building useful data about hazards of everyday life, whether related to health risks and disease management or about geographical risks and the performance of building materials.

I've said before: the more people hear about how insurance actually works, the more favorable their attitude is likely to be, and the better business is likely to be.

Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio

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