Pemco’s Northwest Profiles: A Little Bit Different (and a lot of fun)

Latte machineYou know, writing advertising copy is tough. I mean, seriously, take away the accounts for glitzy cars and sexy smartphones, and what are you left with? Necessary, very unsexy, items like acne medicine and insurance. But the powers that be at Pemco Insurance had the gutsiness and chutzpah to try a goofier, more circumnavigated approach to advertising their insurance; they hired the very talented folks at DNA Brand Mechanics to craft a oddball set of Northwest Profiles.

For people who live around Washington and thereabouts, you’d probably have to live under a rock not to have chuckled at some of the amiable mocking of “The 50 Degrees Shirt’s Off Guy” or the “Marymoor Off Leash Dog Lady.” And if you don’t live in the Pacific Northwest, you probably haven’t heard these ads – but Pemco has them all up on their website, so it’s a fun diversion to check some of them out.

My current favorite is the radio ad featuring one of their newest profiles, “The Super Long Coffee Orderer”:

With the brilliance of a medieval alchemist, he guides the guileless barista through a terrifying labyrinth of seemingly incongruous ingredients and commands.

Come on. When was the last time you heard the words “guileless” or “incongruous” in an ad, much less in the same breath? Pretty impressive. And the narrator of the ads does a brilliant presentation of the copy as well. One of the reasons I like the ad so much is because once you’ve been suckered into the Starbucks latte addiction, you find yourself reeling off strings of adjectives while ordering a latte with a comfort that, frankly, is a little frightening. You never forget the first time you automatically order a “grande decaf reduced fat no whipped caramel latte at 170 degrees” without thinking about it. There is some shame involved, I confess.

But in the final analysis, are the ads effective? Because you can have the best writing in the world, but the advertisement still has to make you remember that these guys are selling insurance. And yes, I do think the ads are effective. I would predict that Pemco probably has humungous name recognition out in this area, and the ads miraculously do manage to tie in the silliness of the profiles with the service Pemco offers. So kudos to advertisers that make me actually want to listen to a commercial.

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