In the '80s, Judas Priest lead singer Rob Halford was a swaggering heavy-metal god. Poured into leather and flashing studs, he snarled raucous rockers about screaming for vengeance and breaking the law, once boldly proclaiming: "If you think I'll let it go, you're mad—you've got another thing comin'!"
Fast forward about 35 years since his heyday (good lord!), and we find the legendary frontman pitching Plymouth Rock Insurance in a series of ads from Boston agency HeyLet'sGo! (That's not my punctuation. They use an exclamation point in their name. Classy.)
In each spot, Halford—looking like a cross between Gandalf and a surviving member of ZZ Top—pops into suburban homes to riff about policies at max-volume, rocking middle-class types to the core:
Am-aaaa-zing! he bellows at one point. Well, that's one word for it, I guess. Easy, Rob. You'll shatter the china and scare the neighbors!
The approach is so freakishly random, so dubiously derivative—of Geico, Bud Light and nostalgia plays in general—it's hard to know what to think.
It's mind-meltingly great? Sucks so damn hard? It's transcendently odd, defying the laws of the marketing universe to attain a level of bizarre, satirical genius?
Why not just dress him up as a priest? Oh yeah, that's been done before.
"The idea is that these little moments—a slightly better price, a helpful tool, and empathetic customer experience—aren't 'little' at all; they're a big deal," agency chief Tim Cawley tells Muse. "We wanted to convey that art directionally and tonally, making a massive, explosive moment out of a simple interaction. Little moments that “rock your world."
Please, tell us more.
"There's tons of insurance advertisers with pop culture figures and massive budgets," he says. "We wanted some spectacle to compete, but also memorability. Make it creatively interesting, but also get credit for the brand and link it indelibly. 'Rock' is right in the Plymouth Rock name."
You got Plymouth Rocked! That's the only brand strategy anyone ever needs.
Cawley continues: "We needed a legit rock belter. That's a pretty short list: Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson, Brian Johnson of AC/DC, Halford. I pretty much wrote these for him. I asked my producer Kaitlyn Medeiros to reach out to him … and we got him. Meant to be. He said, 'I feel like the heavy metal version of Flo [from Progressive].'"
Rob, if you really name-checked Flo, try to stay on brand! Talk up Plymouth, dude.
In other classic-rock-related news, Patti Smith wants to sell you some luggage.
Client - Plymouth Rock
Agency - HeyLet'sGo!
Production Company - True Story Films
Director - Cary Truelick
Line Producer - Katelyn Fukayama
DP - Alex Mitchell
CCO, Copywriter, Music & Lyrics - Tim Cawley
Lead Vocals: Rob Halford
ECD/Head of Design: Mike Shaughnessy
Senior Art Director: Mikayla Belson
Agency Producer - Kaitlyn Medeiros
Account Director - Lisa Gapinske
Account Executives – Olivia Leete, Geenamarie Shuttleworth
Editorial - Mary Grace Cronin, Evan Griffin
Colorist - Mike Grasela
Record & Mix - Mike Secher, Brian Heidebrecht/Soundtrack
Music Producer: Jeremy Parker
Music Recording Studio - Premier Studios/Phoenix