Direct Line axes comedy ads for service-led approach

Insurance brand Direct Line is overhauling its marketing strategy in favour of a more serious, service-focused approach.

The brand is part of the Direct Line Group, which also owns Churchill, Green Flag and Privilege.

It is ditching its comedic advertising for a creative that promotes its breadth of expertise.

The brand's previous humorous ads, featuring actors Chris Addison and Alexander Armstrong, will be replaced with a campaign that features an army of workers dressed in red, ready to help customers with their insurance claims.

The ads include the new strapline, 'Take the Direct Line'. The telephone jingle sign-off used in previous activity has also been dropped.

The campaign, called 'The Red Line', breaks tomorrow (1 September) with a 60-second TV spot during 'The X Factor' on ITV1.

TV, print and poster ads have been created by M&C Saatchi, with media buying through MediaCom and direct marketing by Geronimo.

Kerry Chilvers, marketing director at Direct Line, said: "There has been a shift in what consumers want.

"It’s no longer just about price. Customers want to know what they can expect should the worst happen. This is why demonstrating our size and expertise is fundamental to the new campaign."

Direct Line has used comedy in its advertising since rolling out animated ads in 2009, with Stephen Fry and Paul Merton providing the voices for its red telephone and mouse brand characters.

In early 2011, the brand then launched a campaign which featured 'The Thick of It' actor Chris Addison engaging in comedic conversations with prospective customers.

The group rebranded from RBS Insurance earlier this year. RBS had been compelled to sell the assets by the end of 2014 under the terms of its bail-out by the UK government in 2008.

Chief marketing officer Rick Vlemmiks left the business in July, after just five months in the role.

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