Esurance Finds Authentic In to Same-Sex Marriage Conversation


by Emily Alford

Esurance has created #EqualDreams, a video campaign that both highlights the brand’s support of same sex marriage and creates engagement with other advocates.

With the Supreme Court’s definitive ruling on the legitimacy of same-sex marriage just around the corner, Esurance created a touching video to generate authentic conversation around the cause and their brand.

#EqualDreams begins with children at a wedding explaining their wishes for their own weddings. As the camera pans around the ceremony, the children and other wedding guests – many of them LGBT – begin to explain why they believe that everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, deserves to have their dreams come true. Not until the end of the spot does the viewer get the branded message, that regardless of individual states’ same-sex marriage laws, Esurance has recognized same-sex couples since 2012.

Creating a timely ad based on a three-year-old product offering can be tricky, but authentic engagement comes from the emotional connection between both consumers and the subject matter, as well as brands and the cause, according to Nancy Abraham, vice president of integrated marketing communications for Esurance.

“We’re trying to drive awareness of Esurance. That’s the big focus of this,” Abraham says. “We want people to connect with the brand in an emotionally compelling way. As a modern company, we have this thing what we already do, and so the timely video is a great opportunity to share our belief that all dreams should be equal.”

However, marketing to consumers over a hot-button issue can also be off-putting to those who don’t want their civil rights struggle turned into a marketing play. For example, Tiffany & Co. found itself in hot water in January after marketing wedding rings to same-sex couples in a typical, glossy ad without acknowledging the hardships those couples face.

In order to help Esurance avoid the same pitfalls, it was important for the agency behind the campaign, Leo Burnett, to make sure the video wasn’t over-produced with actors portraying the wedding couple and guests.

“We wanted a real wedding,” says Brian Shembeda, executive vice president and creative director at Leo Burnett. “When we met the couple whose wedding we shot, there was no doubt. They had such strong convictions about the topic. All said and done [the video] took about two-and-a-half or three weeks.”

Though the ad was filmed in just a fraction of the time of most big agency campaigns, #EqualDreams is getting a bigger response online than most brands can expect, with nearly 18,000 YouTube views in two days and over 2 million Facebook views along with thousands of likes and

Abraham says that the positive response to the video will most likely inform Esurance’s strategy for the future. “Did we get a lot of shares of our ad? Yes,” Abraham says. “Because this touches the heart and is really important to people. It’s not just an ad; it’s about what’s important. We’ll look to continue to develop content that does that. In this case, we can back it up with how we behave as a brand.”