NRMA Insurance shifts marketing budget for documentary first

By Alison Lowe | 29 October 2015

NRMA Insurance has re-oriented its marketing budget to commission a “first-of-its-kind” observational documentary on the NSW State Emergency Services.

Storm Season takes NRMA's four year partnership with the service to the next level.

The Channel Ten-aired show, created and produced by MBA and Deluxe, in collaboration with NRMA Insurance, aims to capture the heroic work done by the volunteers of the NSW SES.

As to how the ob-doc idea came about, head of marketing for NRMA, Jane Merrick said: “We've been the key principal partner for SES for the last four years and we've really been working to see how we can maximise that sponsorship and highlight all the work they do. This opportunity came up after a number of conversations and we thought it was a good area for us to explore.”

Merrick said that NRMA Insurance, which is owned by IAG, felt that the “long-form of storytelling” is the right way to show consumers “how brands add value to the world”.

The marketer said that while there is some product placement in the show, the focus will be on SES.

“There's some brand presence throughout the show. It was very important for us to make sure the balance was heavily skewed towards the SES; we're quite minimal really throughout the show. We're trying to leverage it through other channels that sit outside of that,” she added.

As for funding the commission, Merrick said the initiative comes from within NRMA Insurance's existing marketing budget.

"We've just re-allocated what we think was the right funds to support this," she added.

Six 30-minute episodes will air on Channel 10 beginning Saturday 31 October at 4.30 pm. The programming will be supported by 11 three-minute webisodes and two community service announcements on storm preparedness. The full TV episodes will also be made available online on Tenplay.

Although the series focuses on the work of volunteers from NSW, the SES has a presence in more than 1,000 locations nationally, providing meaningful resonance and engagement for viewers regardless of their state or territory.

Merrick said that as much as focusing on the recovery efforts involved after severe storms, the series will help viewers understand the risks that come with such storms and how they can best be prepared in advance.

“People often see NRMA there after the fact to help people recover from events, but we are also helping people become more resilient. A lot of the messages are about prevention,” she explained.

Nicola Lewis, national chief investment officer at NRMA's current media agency, Mindshare, said: “We have enjoyed working with Network Ten and the team at MBA to secure placement of Storm Season and we're thrilled to see it go to air.”

IAG moved NRMA Insurance's $30 million media account from MediaCom to fellow GroupM agency Mindshare back in March. The insurance group made the move after revelations came to light about MediaCom over-reporting TV results and charging clients on so-called “value bank” inventory.

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