The Calm Before the Score

Feb 7, 2023

The Calm Before the Score

I usually try to spend the weekends catching up on all the minutiae that escapes me during the work week. This new, digital era has become both a boon and a burden, as I have been able to automate menial tasks (but perhaps I’ve become a bit to co-dependent). I mean, the convenience of online shopping is almost worth the continual invasion of targeted ads, based on mined data and predictive analytics. This past weekend was different. I couldn’t chance an Out-of-Stock message or worse, a delay in delivery, for my NFC East Conference Championship Eagles gear, especially since the headquarters of my amazing new employer, @Next Level Solutions, is nestled snuggly in KC Chiefs’ territory. This tried & true, green-blooded, Philadelphia Eagles fan – (since Jaws first led the Birds to their first Super Bowl victory way back when) knew she would have to represent. If she didn’t, not only would she never be able to walk into the Linc, wit a hoagie, but her ma would never again call and ask “Jeet? You’se should come ova for Sunday Dinner and watch the Iggles.” Looks like Donna Kelce wasn’t the only one this year with dueling interests.

For those that don’t know, Donna Kelce is the first mother to have two sons play against one another in the Big Game. Eagles Center, Jason, #62 an unrecognized National Treasure and #FatBatman versus his little brother, Travis #87 - Chiefs Tight End, the eight-time Pro Bowler and NFL record holder.  Aside from the coincidence of the adversarial teams, our only other likely commonality would be insurance, especially because not only are her boys playing in one of the stadiums named for an insurer (@StateFarm Stadium) but as a mother to two talented football players, surely she was given guidance on Loss of Value (LOV) insurance. The minute a specialty policy entered my mind, I began to wonder about other connections insurance may have with the NFL. Yes, there are schedules in both, along with risk, adjusters (middle safety for the non-football folks), safety, carriers, coverage and so much more, but my thinking was obviously tilted toward #marketing.

Likely due to the Eagle’s home nest in Philadelphia being Lincoln Financial Field, I was curious to how prevalent P&C insurance patronage is within the NFL. I’ve since learned (and now so have you) that the core of the NFL’s sponsorships are insurance companies – stemming from the stadium names to former (and current) player spokespersons, not to mention the number of top insurer commercials that air during football season. According to advertising metrics data firm EDO, insurance ads in NFL games featuring football players outperform all other ads.  

This information was obviously not lost on @Progessive’s former CMO, Jeff Charney, who is rumored to have given Quarterback Baker Mayfield the nickname “One-Take Bake” for his proficient ability to act in the series of their popular ‘Progressive at Home commercials. Other clever carriers include @USAA who leveraged the very special & gregarious Gronk, and @Nationwide, who secured the commercial king, Peyton Manning. State Farm seems to have hit gold with Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews, but this year, they also have the unique advantage of hosting Super Bowl LVII in their name Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.  

The additional benefit of sponsorship will yield State Farm the ability to capitalize on Sunday’s broadcast where various shots of the arena and the continuous mention of its name will subtly be ingrained in the minds of the expected 99M+ viewers.  Not to mention increased name recognition through social media, digital signage, ticketing, and branded venue seating, especially with CMO, Kristyn Cook and her ingenious strategy to leverage the talent of TikTok sensation and cultural phenom, Khaby Lame (along with Jake from State Farm) for the Big Game. In keeping with my Super Bowl tradition, I’m willing to bet State Farm scores big with this campaign, surpassing the impact @Allstate had, when they sponsored the inaugural MLS Next game last August. Almost 100 major organizations tagged Allstate across social media, and an additional 96 partnered with Allstate across various channels, totaling nearly 1,300 posts–an average of 13 posts per deal, with total engagement north of 1.1 million – and the value impact continues with every replay, recast, and YouTube view.  

I realize that Khaby may be yet another name, as some may not recognize the wordless comedian, who in my mind, offers something that many insurers could use, a refreshing (and simple) look into seemingly complex things. Khabane "Khaby" Lame ([kabɪ la:mɛː]; is an Italian social media personality, best known for his TikTok videos in which he silently breaks down overly complicated life hacks. As of February 2023, he became the most-followed user on TikTok. Ever-curious how the largest P&C connects to a Senegalese born influencer, I investigated to see if perhaps Khaby was like former Falcon’s Defensive End, Patrick Kerney, and perhaps owned an agency. Given that Khaby is only 22, I surmised that the connection was elsewhere, yet I do believe that 4 attributes of his success apply to both football and P&C Insurance.  

Simplicity is a vital ingredient – With football, simplicity doesn’t mean run less plays. Rather, it helps players streamline their process and select the right option for each instance. For P&C Carriers, a ‘less is more’ approach that provides clear insights into the coverage and costs, combined with the seamless ability to access a policy anytime, anywhere, enables customers the simplicity they’ve come to expect – giving carriers a competitive edge.  

Self-confidence is a superpower – Whether a large tier 1 or a smaller, independent carrier, those companies dedicated to providing assurance and continual commitment customers, whether through innovative technology or unsurpassed customer service, gain the advantage of retention. In football, sometimes you must be bold and make big moves, like the infamous Philly Special, (aka the Philly Philly) which resulted in an Eagles Super Bowl LII Victory and QB Nick Foles becoming the first player in Super Bowl history to both throw and catch a touchdown pass.  

You don’t need an expensive setup to be successful – Sometimes, especially when it comes to software solutions, the right choice can be wrong. That’s why trusted partnerships with system integrators, like @Nextlevelsolutions, can help mitigate risk, minimize cost, and plot a course forward that is purposeful and practical. In football, it doesn’t take a million-dollar arm to throw a winning pass, and we’ve all heard the rags to riches tales of many great players who began their careers with nothing more than passion and a drive to win.  

Always have someone who has your back – This reminds me of the blind side, an area protected by a left or right tackle. Since most NFL quarterbacks are right-handed, they usually have their backs exposed to defensive players rushing them from the left side of the field. For P&C Carriers, the purpose of company’s like @NextlevelSolutions is to have “the back” of the carriers we partner with and responsibly support them through any area of transformation or technology transition, with expertise, experience, and industry acumen. In an era where partnerships are slated to expand, our ability to deliver value, ROI, and trust will continue to be instrumental for insurer success.

When it comes down to it, there are many more commonalities between football and insurance. I haven’t even hit on the Puppy bowl, and with pet insurance growing in popularity, one has to wonder which savvy insurer will capture that prime spot. Since State Farm has their strategy locked and loaded, I too, now have mine. Despite my affection for Travis, as well as Isiah Pacheco (and Michael Burton) being Garden State Guys, I am going all in for the Eagles. While being surrounded by a sea of red jerseys, I will continue to stand with Jason, sporting an NFC Conference Champs shirt and supporting my home team.  

Let me know who you are rooting for in this year’s game, and one random person will receive a “swag pack” courtesy of me.

-Nikki Dugan | AVP of Marketing at Next Level Solutions

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