SafeAuto's Absurd, Comic 'Protest' Ad Nearly Sparked a Real Riot

Joan Creative's first work for the insurance brand

"Insurance for the rest of us!"

That rallying cry powers Joan Creative's cheeky debut for SafeAuto, as consumers take to the streets—some shirtless, many with painted faces, and one on horseback—to protest overpaying for state-mandated auto insurance:

We Are the Rest of Us - SafeAuto Insurance

"We wanted a way to lean into what SafeAuto does best, and that's offer car insurance for those who are left behind by the bigger insurance companies, for people who don't have money to burn," Joan executive creative director Dan Lucey tells Muse. "We also wanted our audience to rally around the idea they are not alone." 

Director Nalle Sjöblad, perhaps best known for his satirical "Micropolitics" spots touting Egyptian news site Mada Masr, shot on location in Uruguay, with hundreds of extras participating in the colorful, rowdy anthem spot.

As it turns out, filming nearly touched off an international incident.

"We happened to be shooting at the same time as the Uruguayan elections," Lucey recalls. "It's quite common for people to drive around and wave colored flags representing the political party their candidate is affiliated with. On our last day of shooting, with a crowd of hundreds waving red and white SafeAuto flags, we looked like we were supporting a candidate that was not in favor in that particular neighborhood." 

Local residents "encircled our set with hundreds of cars honking and waving their flags in protest," he says. "This shut down production for 30 minutes. It could have been a lot worse." 

Incidentally, those billboards and transit ads that spark the uprising in the commercial are real campaign elements, coming soon to select markets, where they probably won't incite any uprisings. We hope. 

Such signage spurs the narrative of a second spot; demonstrations aren't imminent, though there's some enthusiastic shouting, and one loudmouth might get arrested: 

Screaming Billboards - SafeAuto Insurance

"We're targeting people who don't like overpaying for car insurance: working class families, young drivers and anyone who has a seasonal job and doesn't need to insure a car for the whole year," Lucey says. "Many of these drivers don't get the best rates from the bigger insurers, and the money they can save with SafeAuto makes a big difference." 

CREDITS

Client: SafeAuto
CEO: Ron Davies
Director, Brand Management and Consumer Demand: Sloane Stegen
Media Director: Courtney McCormick

Agency: Joan Creative
CEO: Lisa Clunie
CCO: Jaime Robinson
ECD: Dan Lucey
Copywriter: Bryce Hooton
CSO: Magnus Blair
Strategist: Hannah Lewman
Head Of Production: Daniel Marin
Executive Producer: Melissa Tifrere 
Director of creative services: Becca Patrick

Production Company: Spark & Riot
Director: Nalle Sjöblad
Editorial: Mack Cut 
Editor: Nick Divers
Sound: Sam Schaffer
Music: Duotone
Color: Co3
Colorist: Tom Poole
Visual Effects: Ambassadors

Profile picture for user David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is senior editor at Clio Awards.

Museletter

Get Inspired

Sign up for the daily Museletter for the latest ad campaigns and the stories behind them.