Another Deathly Disappointing Fair Go Ad Awards

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Although parts of the Fair Go Ad Awards were deathly disappointing, altogether it was not a bad ceremony. As per usual, it was a very entertaining night with the hosts putting on a good show as kiwis appreciate marketers efforts – whether they were fruitful or not. But also as per usual, the worst ads category let down many marketers.

I’m not saying it’s wrong to name and shame bad advertisements – it’s second nature to TV watchers and at least marketers take away feedback from it. The real problem is why some of the ads end out in the worst category. Specifically companies from the death industry seem to wind up in there a lot. And this year Cigna Insurance took the prize for worst ad of the year. Although no one from Cigna attended the awards – probably because they have been forced unjustly to sit through the awards for years.

Cigna’s Life Insurance marketers don’t have the easiest or most glamourous job. They get paid to promote something that most people don’t even want to think about. There are only a few safe ways to market life insurance and many, many inappropriate ways to. If their ad used humor, fear or sex it would deserve to win worst ad of the year. Imagine seeing an ad showing scantily clad women talking huskily about insurance for when you die! 

In light of their dark subject, Cigna tactfully released a sensitive yet informative advert about why you should get life insurance. Even though it’s touchy to talk about, we are all going to need it some day. I believe they handled the subject matter with poise and honesty and altogether it was a very well done ad. Sure it didn’t have dancing grandmas or cats on buses but nevertheless it was incredibly effective.

Cigna Insurance faced three contenders more worthy of the worst ad award. The first contender is a two year late remake of Rebecca Black’s tragic hit Friday which somehow promotes Vodafone. The second match is a short storyline revolving around words which rhyme with the word “Nova” including, Rover, drover, supernova and why isn’t this song over??? The final contender was the famous only in New Zealand Giganaire rap.

The host was empathetic towards Cigna Insurance. He claimed, “Maybe it’s what Cigna sells that you guys don’t like rather than the ad itself.” Which raises a very good point about their judging system – it is afterall based on likes and dislikes. Which could quite simply come down to “I don’t like hearing about death and therefore this is a bad ad.” It’s a subjective judging system based on a subjective awards ceremony. But there is no way around that. All you can do is hope that New Zealand voters learn the difference between an awful ad and an unpleasant message.

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