Finding a spokesanimal can be easier for some insurance companies than it is for others.
The execs at Geico, of course, essentially had a certain lizard spelled out for them the moment they shrunk the name from Government Employees Insurance Co.
Liberty Mutual took a bit longer to come up with its mascot, but “LiMu Emu” has apparently been a big hit so far. Emily Fink, chief marketing officer at the Boston-based insurance company, says nearly 25 percent of US consumers polled at the end of March recognized LiMu and his human counterpart “Doug” as being Liberty Mutual mascots. Not bad for an ad campaign that started in late February.
Fink says Liberty Mutual found that its “Truth Tellers” ads — the ones in which people are interviewed with the Statue of Liberty in the background — resonated more with consumers once some levity was injected into the spots. She says this “LiMu Emu and Doug” campaign represents a first for Liberty Mutual: a campaign built around humor.
The schtick goes like this: LiMu Emu and Doug act like goofy cop partners from a 1970s TV show, chasing down unsuspecting people to remind them that they shouldn’t pay for coverage they don’t need, that insurance shouldn’t be one-size fits-all. The ads were developed by San Francisco ad agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners, Liberty’s creative agency of record.
GS&P and film director Craig Gillespie coordinated with The Mill, a special effects studio, to bring LiMu to life. Live emus were used in the initial shoot, as real-life models for the CGI bird that appears in the TV ads.
“As a marketer, I always look for what’s going to be remembered,” Fink says. “I thought for sure this was going to be memorable. . . . It’s very exciting to see the consumer feedback.”
Liberty Mutual might want to look into rolling out a toy line next.
“We’re getting increasing requests for swag,” Fink says. “Everybody wants the stuffed animals [and] the T-shirts.” — JON CHESTO
Rockland Trust reaches a milestone
Welcome to the big time, Rockland Trust.
The Hanover-based bank just soared past the $10 billion threshold, in terms of total assets, by completing its acquisition of Blue Hills Bank on April 1. Connecticut’s People’s United Bank, a much bigger rival, also expanded on that date, closing its acquisition of Belmont Savings.
Rockland joins only a handful of independent Massachusetts-based banks in this rarified air: Eastern Bank and Berkshire Bank have also cleared the $10 billion hurdle.
There are many advantages to growth, but also some downsides, such as increased regulatory scrutiny, and a decrease in debit card interchange fees.
Chief executive Chris Oddleifson has been preparing for this moment for several years.
“I thought I would feel differently when I woke up the next morning,” Oddleifson jokes. “But I still feel like my old self, still surrounded by my same great colleagues.”
To help accommodate the growth, Oddleifson made a couple of key promotions. Rob Cozzone is now the bank’s chief operating officer, for example, and Ed Seksay is now chief risk officer.
Oddleifson says Rockland Trust is taking on about 150 of Blue Hills’ 240 employees, but nearly all of the executives at Blue Hills, which had been based in Norwood, are leaving. Bob Driscoll, however, will stick around to run Rockland Trust’s home mortgage business. And three former Blue Hills directors, including former Blue Hills CEO Bill Parent, are joining Rockland’s board of directors.
One aspect of this merger that’s a little unusual: The Blue Hills name won’t be coming down until early June. Oddleifson says that was the soonest the two companies’ banking systems providers could be available at the same time to make the conversion happen.
But Oddleifson didn’t waste any time with renaming the old B lue Hills Bank Pavilion, the Live Nation concert venue on the South Boston Waterfront. That amphitheater is now called the Rockland Trust Bank Pavilion. Rockland picked up Blue Hills’ old naming rights contract, which runs through the fall of 2020.
“I’m hearing a lot of people saying, ‘I’m hearing you on the radio,’ ” Oddleifson says. “[And] I have a lot of colleagues wondering when we’re going to have a party there.” — JON CHESTO
Baker has nice things to say about Capuano
Governor Charlie Baker may be a Republican, but that didn’t stop him from giving some props to the most prominent Democrat in the room at an event last Thursday.
Speaking to the New England Council, Baker gave a few shout outs to former congressman Mike Capuano. (Capuano, of course, lost his seat last year to another Democrat, Ayanna Pressley, and now works at law firm Foley & Lardner.) In particular, Baker credited Capuano for securing $1 billion in federal funding essential to making the Green Line extension through Capuano’s hometown of Somerville a reality.
But Baker didn’t stop there: He praised Capuano’s time as mayor, saying he played a pivotal role in overseeing a difficult transition for the city, ushering in a more modern era for a place once known as “Slummerville.” Those days are long gone.
Oh, and then there was the time they were adversaries, albeit briefly, in the 1980s. That’s when they first became friends, Baker said. Capuano was a top legislative aide on Beacon Hill, and Baker worked for the Massachusetts High Technology Council.
“I was busy trying to cut taxes,” Baker joked, “and he was busy trying to stop me from doing it.” — JON CHESTO
WHDH calls it a wrap for 7 p.m. newscast
And then there were two.
WCVB Channel 5 made some waves among the local broadcasters in 2016 when it started a 7 p.m. local newscast. Rival WHDH Channel 7, then an NBC affiliate, soon followed.
Comcast then launched NBC 10 Boston, a station that would compete with WHDH. And a third 7 p.m. local newscast was born.
Now, WHDH has bowed out of the 7 p.m. arms race. The station, owned by Ed Ansin’s Sunbeam Television Corp., switched out its local show at that time on April 1 in favor of airing nationally syndicated news magazine “Inside Edition” (previously seen on WCVB).
WHDH general manager Jimmy Rogers says: “7News will continue to provide 12 hours of news each weekday, which is the most locally produced news in the Boston market, clearly demonstrating why we are The News Station.”
But Bill Fine, general manager at WCVB, has a different take. He says his station had been winning the ratings in the 7 p.m. slot. “If you can’t compete head to head on something, you counter-program,” Fine says. — JON CHESTO
Shell spotlights economic disparities
In the latest edition of the Globe’s Bold Types video series, Greg Shell, managing director of Bain Capital Double Impact, talks with business reporter Janelle Nanos about how he measures success in mission-driven companies, his path to working in finance, and his hopes to even the economic disparities in Boston.
“I’ve always been bothered, frankly, by the disparities that exist in our society. And I think the reason why is that we, as a society, are believing the big lie, which is that there has to be an underclass in order to make society work,” Shell said. “My view of this has always been the case that human capital investments are always the best investments to make.”
See the full interview at www.bostonglobe.com/boldtypes. — SHIRA CENTER