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American Family Insurance Gives Us the Galaxy's Cutest Astronaut in Dreamy New Ad


Houston, we have insurance. 

The latest iteration of American Family Insurance's "Insure carefully, dream fearlessly" campaign from BBDO New York blasts off this week, led by an evocative minute-long film that presents a child's notion of space exploration. 

It's a pretty amazing mix of fantasy and reality from Smuggler director Adam Berg. Note the suburban garage embedded in the "Martian dune" near the beginning. (And what kid wouldn't love to zip around the neighborhood—er, surface of an alien world—on his or her astro-cycle, wearing that rad spacesuit?) 

"We filmed in the California desert, which, luckily, bore an amazing likeness to Mars," Susan Golkin, executive creative director at BBDO, tells AdFreak. "Instead of positioning insurance as who you call when something bad happens, we love this idea of positioning American Family as who you call to help make things happen. One of those times in life when we felt free to dream big was childhood. If you were lucky, you felt truly protected then. American Family can help reignite that feeling."

In the next spot, touting home insurance, a young girl peacefully dreams the night away while her dad and his pals indulge in a noisy rock 'n' roll fantasy of their own:

Maybe one day they'll make it to Top of the Pops.

"By promoting insurance through the aspirational dreams lens, we are specifically speaking to people who believe in taking good care of the things in life they've achieved because they believe in their own unlimited potential," says AFI brand and creative manager Anne Norman.

Finally, in an ad about car insurance, a young couple in a pickup truck chase the sunset down a scenic country road: 

Well, that's certainly a bright, romantic notion.

Overall, the campaign does a fine job of positioning AFI as an intrinsic yet unobtrusive partner in customers' lives, steering clear of category clichés and relying on soft-sellng, cinematic pitches to deliver its message. 

A digital and social push called "Kid Coaches" supports the TV buy. Created by Mirum, the work presents youngsters advising adults about overcoming obstacles and achieving their dreams. Here's the series' intro video:

While the concept is cute, and some of the online spots are quite precious—gotta love those artsy twins!—they tend to drag, and might have been more effective at half the length. That's not to say things weren't hectic behind the scenes, though.

"The parents were instructed to have their kids energized when they arrived," recalls Mirum creative director A.J. Scherbring. "We meant, 'Inspire your kid with encouraging words and empowering support.' They heard, 'Lots of sugar.' Kids are wild cards. Even with all their incredible insight, you never really know what they are going to say or do. Or grab. Or pull. Or kick. Or tackle. Or throw. Or write on. Or eat. Or at least chew on."

Ah well, that's why production crews carry insurance.


Client: American Family Insurance

Agency: BBDO "New York"
Chief Creative Officer, Worldwide: David Lubars
Chief Creative Officer, New York: Greg Hahn
Executive Creative Director: Susan Golkin
Senior Creative Director: Eric Goldstein

Senior Producer: Becky Burkhard
Asst. Producer: Mike Ritchie
Music Producer: Rani Vaz
Business Manager: Maria Elia

Sr. Account Director: Jim Santora / Christine Smith
Account Director: Kelly Harrington
Account Manager:  Justin Choy

Agency: Mirum

Production Company: Smuggler
Executive Producer: Drew Santarsiero / Brian Carmody
Director:  Adam Berg
Line Producer: Karen O'Brien
Director Of Photography: Alwin Kuchler         

Editorial Company: Cosmo Street Editorial
Executive Producer: Maura Woodward
Producer: Anne Lai
Editor: Paul Hardcastle
Assistant Editor: Nellie Phillips

Telecine Company: MPC
Telecine Artist: Mark Gethin
Producer: Meghan Lang/Rebecca Boorsma

Conform / Finish Company: MPC
Conform Artist: Chris Moore/Michael Gregory
Producer: Elexis Stearn/Brian Friel

Graphic Design Company: Suspect
Producer: Rob Appelblatt

Visual Effects Company:  MPC
Lead Cg Artist:  Micheal Wynd/Chris Moore/Ben Persons/Michael Gregory
Producer: Brian Friel

Music Company: Beacon Street (re-arrangements)
Composer: Andrew Feltenstein
Producer: Leslie DiLullo

Mix & Record Company: Heard City
Engineer: Phil Loeb
Producer: Talia Rodgers

VO Talent: Isaiah Johnson
Agent Name: Neal Altman (Abrams Artists)

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