Hippo Is There, Whatever the Apocalypse, in Amusingly Epic Ad

Policyholders don't sweat it in Preacher spot

Hippo probably won't cover property damage caused by horsemen of the apocalypse riding through town.

Regardless, such denizens of doom thunder down a typical suburban street and wreak havoc in the insurance company's epic minute-long anthem from agency Preacher and director Markus Walter. The horrible horde represents homeowner anxiety, but our cereal-slurping everyman hero stands tall—thanks to Hippo.

Hippo - Feel the Housepower

Is Isaiah Mustafa one of the riders? That guy's always on a horse.

Breaking this week and tagged "Feel the Housepower," the campaign also includes a trio of product-driven :30s with a decidedly different vibe. These spots, from Partners in Crime and director Spencer Rivera, eschew effects-driven cataclysm, serving up wry humor instead. (In the first ad below, a myopic kid seeks "expert advice," and his schtick straight-up slaps!)

Hippo - For the Owners - On-Demand Expert Advice
Hippo - For the Owners - Home Health Check-Ups
Hippo - For the Owners - Smart Home Sensors

Muse chatted with Preacher creative director Jimmie Blount and Partners in Crime founder/CD Stephen Goldblatt about the campaign's development:

Muse: Who's the target audience?

Jimmie Blount: Folks who have seen services like banking, investing and home security modernize and adopt technology that has improved their experience. They are wondering why the same hasn't happened with home insurance.

It's funny stuff—but with a different sensibility than, say, Progressive or Farmers. How'd you approach the brief?

Jimmie Blount: We had this idea of "Housepower," this feeling of confidence Hippo customers have knowing they've got their home totally under control and protected. To demonstrate "Housepower," we needed an antagonist for our soup-slurping homeowner to stand up against. We could've had him face off against an actual disaster that could cause an insurance claim. But a metaphorical disaster that could represent a litany of things seemed more interesting. Art director Caroline Jinks and copywriter India Allen brought us all types of monsters: trolls, oversized reptiles—but cloaked horsemen kept rising to the top.

Why were they the right choice?

Jimmie Blount: They felt like a shortcut to ominous destruction without being too specific. There's inspiration taken from a few epic fantasy series like Harry Potter and Game of Thrones and even Sleepy Hollow. Cloaked horsemen seem to be recurring figures in "Oh shit!" moments throughout film and literature, which made them ideal for our script. We also dug that the horsemen were very ominous and serious, creating a good foil for someone welding toast to scream at.

Talk about making the commercial. Any big challenges for the crew?

Jimmie Blount: A lot of what you see happened in-camera. To achieve all the practical effects, we need to find a location cool with us making a mess (and respectfully cleaning up afterwards). So, we ended up shooting in South Africa. These were beautiful sun-filled 80-degree days, perfect for a hard seltzer shoot, less so for what we needed. Major respect for all of the riders and animal handlers who were dealing with the heat but kept their cool.

What were you aiming for style-wise in the shorter spots? There's an Aaron Sorkin vibe with the quick patter and overlapping lines.

Stephen Goldblatt: Anyone who thinks a port-o-potty adds square footage to your home is obviously fooling themselves, so the rapid-fire dialogue serves to puncture that "bubble of denial" bluntly and repeatedly. The more the clueless neighbor is confronted with his faulty logic, the more confidently he sticks to it. It was tough to find an actor who could pull off that confident ignorance in a believable way, but Scott Beehner [in the "Home Health Check-Ups" ad] really nailed it. We had a strong cast across the board.

That pint-sized peformer in "Expert Advice" really steals it. What's his story?

Stephen Goldblatt: The kid's name is Lincoln. Like Madonna or Sting. Just Lincoln. He came to set committed to his role of being a cute, impressionable 6-year-old with glasses that just won't stay put. Lincoln was exactly the kid we all had in our minds. And the striped sweatshirt really ratcheted up the cuteness factor—to the point of being offensively adorable.

CREDITS

Credits, :60 Anthem Spot "Feel The Housepower"

Agency: Preacher 
Chief Creative Officer: Rob Baird
Chief Executive Officer: Krystle Loyland
Chief Strategy Officer: Seth Gaffney
Creative Directors: Jimmie Blount & Justin Ralph
Copywriter: India Allen
Art Director: Caroline Jinks
Brand Director: Jenalisa Trevino
Brand Manager: Mary Corbin Burlingame
Strategy Director: Kevin Jansick
Strategist: Joel Linkewer
Head of Production: Stacey Higgins
Executive Producer: Rachel Kichler
Business Affairs: Carianne Humpal

Production Company: RESET
Director: Markus Walter
Head of Production: John Moran
Executive Producer: Megan Moore, Jen Beitler, Michael Garza
Line Producer: Grace Campos
DP: Ottar Gudnason
Production Services: Gatehouse

Edit House: Cabin Editing Company
Managing Partner: Carr Schilling
Executive Producer: Adam Becht
Producer: Katy Lester
Editor: Mischa Meyer
Assistant Editor: John Osment

Sound Design & Mix: TBD Post. Mixer: Dusty Albertz
Music: Rwdy Music. Composer: Matthias Biermann
Music: Walker 

VFX & Finish: Blacksmith
Executive Producer: Charlotte Arnold
Producer: Sophie Mitchell
VFX Shoot Supervisor: Iwan Zwarts & Heiko Von Fintel
Lead 3D Artist: Tuna Unalan
Lead Compositor: Daniel Morris 
Color: Mikey Pehanich

Motion Graphics: Chapman Bullock

Credits, :30 Spots
"Soccer Ball"
"Bidet" 
"Leaks"

Agency: Partners in Crime
Founder / Creative Director: Stephen Goldblatt
Producer: Dan Watson
Copywriter: Ray Connolly, Al Kelly
Art Director: Stephen Goldblatt

Production Company: O Positive
Director: Spencer Riviera
Executive Producer: Ralph Laucella
Executive Producer: Marc Grill
Line Producer: Megan Miller

Editorial / Post FX: Beast TV
Editor: Bob Spector
Executive Producer: Tracy Coleman
Voice Talent: Matt Ashworth

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David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is managing editor at Clio Awards.

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