People might not give a shit about marketing and brands, but IAG CMO Brent Smart does. The outspoken former agency boss returned to Australia from leading Saatchi’s New York shop to take on the CMO role at insurance group IAG three months ago. And he has audacious goals for the insurer’s brands.
“People don't give a shit about marketing,” Brent Smart, CMO of IAG said at the AdNews Media + Marketing Summit in Sydney last month. A bold statement for a newly appointed chief marketing officer in his first client-side role.
When IAG announced Smart’s hire, it raised eyebrows. Here was an acclaimed creative coming from Saatchi & Saatchi New York, turning his hand to the insurance category to take up a newly created CMO role.
Smart is an Aussie who has spent 20 years in agency roles. For him, part of the appeal of IAG, which operates brands including NRMA Insurance, SGIO and CGU, across Australia, New Zealand and Asia, was not being the Australian outpost of a global brand.
“I wanted to be at an Australian brand that controlled its own destiny,” he explained. “That would mean being able to have a bigger impact and being able to apply creativity to problem- solving within the business.”
Smart is the first to admit that insurance is not that interesting, but while it’s often dubbed a “low interest” category, he isn’t quite so sure about that.
“There's no such thing as low involvement products, just low involvement marketing. How you make it interesting and make it matter is a really great, creative challenge,” he said.
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