‘If your ambition is to win a Cannes Lion you will fail’

Ashley Regan
By Ashley Regan | 28 August 2023
Mim Haysom and Amanda Wheeler.

Suncorp is holding firm on its marketing budgets, despite uncertain economic times, due to the success of its long term marketing strategy.

While the One House to Save Many project was awarded a Grand Prix at Cannes Lions 2022 among many other awards, these were never goals for Mim Haysom, Suncorp CMO/EGM brand and marketing.

On stage at AdNews Brisbane L!VE, Haysom said marketers with the ambition to win a Cannes Lion will fail because it's the wrong ambition.

“As a creative agency absolutely they should have that ambition and as marketers we should want to support that, but our starting position should never be wanting to win an award,” Haysom said. 

Instead, purpose is critical to a long-term brand and One House had the authentic ambition to protect Australians.

Suncorp found that while the severity of weather events was increasing, only three cents of every insurance dollar went to prevention or resilience, with the other 97 cents going to recovery.

“We wanted to work out how we could make homes more resilient,” Haysom said. “Because we can’t control the weather but we can help our customers get back into their homes quicker.”

The One House project started with a $40,000 budget to scope out the idea to ensure Suncorp could afford the whole execution. The building process took two years to finalise and was done through many partnerships with scientists, universities and architects to ensure the house could withstand cyclones, floods and storms.

And Suncorp’s investment paid off - One House increased consideration for the brand with non-Suncorp customers by 11.2% and it drove waves of new business growth. 

Haysom also revealed that, two weeks ago, Suncorp’s CFO said the only cost the business is not reducing in 2024 is marketing, because it's a proven return on investment.

Despite One House’s success, it was just the starting point for Suncorp’s long-term marketing strategy for the past five years and the next five years around resilience.

“In the world of insurance consumers think about a brand once a year when the review comes, so for us the notion of long term marketing and brand building is so incredibly important because we have to be top of mind at that one time a year,” Haysom said.

“Unlike non-insurance brands, we have to be talking about the value we're providing, not just offering the cheapest price.”

Just months after the One House campaign launched, Suncorp’s creative agency Leo Burnett started brainstorming the next iteration of the resilience strategy Amanda Wheeler, Leo Burnett chief client partner, said.

Mim Haysom and Amanda Wheeler.

“One House was incredibly disruptive - everybody understood that if you were building a house today, you would do it very differently,” Wheeler said.

“But most people aren't building their own homes today, so we needed to make resilience more realistic for customers.”

The next campaign - called Resilience Road - renovated an entire street in the Queensland suburb of Rockhampton, which has survived several recent natural disasters.

Along with the renovations of five Rockhampton houses, the campaign delivered a context structure that equipped people with tips on small tips to improve their own homes. 

Resilience Road became a Cannes Lion finalist for innovation in the Grand Prix, “so that consistency of recognition comes out of the consistency of the growth story as well,” Wheeler said.

This year Suncorp and Leo Burnett focused on resilience in a less theoretical and practical way to create an emotional campaign called If Your Home Could Talk.

“Our creative teams realised the thing that's missing is the voice of the home,” Wheeler said.

“So we created a campaign that brings that unveiling journey, that vulnerability of your home, and the things that you want to protect into the heart of the storytelling.

“And since that's in the market at the moment we’re already thinking about our fourth generation commitment to resilience.”

AdNews would like to thank supporting partners Foxtel Media, RyvalMedia, Quantcast, News Corp Australia, associate partner MIQ and co-curators Brisbane Advertising Association and Brisbane Advertising and Design Club. 

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