Esure ditches Winner for mouse in £20m ad blitz

Michael Winner, the film director turned gastronome, has been dropped from Esure’s advertising as the internet insurer pushes a new image. The highly successful ads – which were also rated as the most irritating campaign of last year – will give way to an animated character called Mister Mouse, as part of Esure’s new &£20m advertising blitz.

Winner has been directing and starring in Esure commercials since the insurer took its advertising in house in 2002. The ads featured the much-parroted “Calm down, dear” line.

Unveiling the new-look campaign, chairman Peter Wood took a pot-shot at “copycat competitors”. He spoke disparagingly of “flattering similarities” in ads aired by rival Direct Line, the UK’s second-largest motor insurer, and Privilege. Both are owned by Royal Bank of Scotland.

In the new Esure campaign, Winner has been displaced by the stop-motion animated Mister Mouse, who will appear in television, press and poster advertising from this week – including one in every 20 UK poster sites over the next four weeks – backed by the line “insurance at mice’s prices”. The character has been created by Sian Vickers and Chris Wilkins, who worked with Esure chairman Peter Wood to create the Direct Line red phone in the 1980s.

The campaign will also include radio advertising.

Speaking at the launch of the new image, Wood, who combines his role as chairman with that of group marketing director (MW October 13, 2004), insisted that Winner had not been axed permanently. A company spokesman adds: “Michael Winner has been a winning formula for Esure and continues to be involved with the brand. This new campaign doesn’t signal an end to Michael Winner – he will feature again and he also remains with us as an important adviser.”

Esure, which was created four years ago by Wood as a joint venture with HBOS, is the UK’s fastest-growing insurance company, and last month topped 1 million policies. As part of the rebrand, it will widen its target market, by dropping its requirement for a minimum of four years’ no-claims discount. Loans and pet insurance will also be offered later this year.

Latest from Marketing Week

PLEASE SIGN IN OR REGISTER. IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and inspiration that will help you develop as a marketer and leader.

Register and receive the best content from the only title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work, so we can make Marketing Week more relevant to you.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team and columnists will ask the biggest questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we will be your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Dedicated to developing your skills and helping you achieve marketing excellence. Find guidance on leadership, professional development and the latest industry jobs.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here