Bubba Wallace Is Unapologetic in Root Insurance Campaign

Tool of North America swerves into the headlines

Taking a spin in the cultural fast lane, Root Insurance rides with Bubba Wallace in a campaign that leverages the NASCAR driver's notoriety.

Wallace, the sport's biggest African American star, generated headlines following the death of George Floyd. He decorated his car with "Black Lives Matter" regalia and helped convince NASCAR to ban Confederate flags from its races.

In June, a crew member discovered a noose in Wallace's Talladega racetrack garage. When the FBI determined it wasn't a hate crime, Donald Trump and others demanded that Wallace apologize for suggesting he might have been the victim of a racist threat.

The driver refused and continued to speak out for equality and social justice. Now, his steadfast attitude fuels this fast-paced 80-second ad from Tool of North America director Wesley Walker, featuring rebel flags, hateful gestures, elements of a digital media circus and POTUS 45 references:

Bubba Wallace Progress owes no apology | Root Insurance

When's the last time you saw a noose in an insurance ad? Never, right?

"[Wallace] is dedicated to standing up for what is right, even when it involves facing adversity," says client CEO Alex Timm. "Root was created to make car insurance fairer, standing up against the established industry that priced more on demographics than driving behavior. We are proud to support Bubba Wallace."

"I will be proud to drive a car with their colors next season," Wallace says. "I stand firmly with the goal of eliminating bias from insurance, and I truly believe we can work together to help make the world a better place."

Director Wesley, a Black-Latino American, says the film seeks to convey "truth, meaning and positivity. What people do not know is what it feels like experientially to walk this path, and what it takes to stand for what is right against such intense resistance."

Indeed, the memorable ad does a fine job of capturing the full-throttle info-crush that continues to swirl around Wallace. That Root choses to showcase a high-profile and at times polarizing figure to generate buzz is surely nothing to apologize for.

Contrast this approach with another insurance startup, Bestow, which took a markedly different route in edgy commercials this week.

Separately, DoorDash on Friday launched a "Dash to the Polls" get-out-the-vote campaign with Wallace. The delivery brand first announced a partnership in August.

CREDITS

Client: Root Insurance @rootinsurance
CBO: Kelly Ruoff @kellyruoff
ECD: Jill Neely @jillneely
CD/Prod: Kevin Rapp
Producer: Karmen Dann @karmendann

Director / @wes_walker_  
DP /  @maxgoldmandp
PD / Richard Wright
Edit / @emmaohsnap @cabinedit
Color/ @josephbicknell @company_3
Sound Design / @csabawagner @sweetjusticesound
Music / Luke Atencio
VFX / @_shapeandlight_
Produced By / @toolofna

Prod Co: Tool of NA @toolofna
Director: Wes Walker @wes_walker_
President: Dustin Callif
MD: Nancy Hacohen @nancyhac
EP: Rob Sexton @rbsex10
Producer: Andy Coverdale
Creative Director: Marc Wilson
Director of Photography: Max Goldman @maxgoldmandp
Production Designer: Richard Wright
Post Producer: Mary Church @mjcurch
Production Coordinator: Syahirah Mansor
Editorial: Cabin Edit @cabinedit
Editor: Emma Backman @emmaohsnap
Asst Editor: Jonatas da Silva @senegaldude
EP: Adam Becht @cheze
Color: Joseph Bicknell @josephbicknell @company3
Sound: Csaba Wagner @csabawagner @sweetjusticesound
Music: Luke Atencio
Content Editor: Rex-Kane Hart @rexkane.hart
VFX: Shape and Light @_shapeandlight_ 

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David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is senior editor at Clio Awards.

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