‘The most effective play for where we are right now’: Why an insurance startup is betting big on digital video ads

The header image shows a fist punching through a TV screen.

Insurance startup Quility is ramping up its brand awareness efforts, leveraging digital video ads across streaming platforms with its new porcupine mascot Quigley leading the way. The two-year-old brand is looking to scale and reach a broader audience with this strategy, according to Joe Dendy, Quility chief marketing officer.

Quility has doubled its brand awareness budget, dedicating more ad spend to running video ad spots across streaming platforms, including Hulu and television digital offerings, ABC local channels, A+E, BBC America, CBS and CNBC. Efforts started last month with 30-second spots featuring Quigley the porcupine. It’s unclear exactly how much of Quility’s ad spend went toward CTV/OTT as Dendy did not provide further details.

“We realized that’s where the bang for the buck is,” said Dendy. “That’s going to be the most effective play for where we are right now.”

As more people spend more time streaming content on these platforms, Quility is betting on CTV and OTT to be able to reach more people, adding more ways to meet customers where they are. 

It’s a first for the brand that built its customer acquisition strategy on social media and previously had no budget dedicated to ads across streaming platforms. But as data privacy issues and rising costs put a strain on social media ads, the brand has looked to diversify its mix this year. 

“We’ve shifted Facebook to be more of a content marketing play for our brand awareness, and are leaning into these other avenues for direct client acquisition,” Dendy said.

In addition to leaning into digital video ads, the insurance brand has ramped up efforts on search and display advertising as well as dabbling in TikTok. Dendy said he expects the short-form video app to soon become a staple in the brand’s marketing strategy to get in front of the app’s younger audience.

Last year, Quility’s overall marketing spend was just north of $30 million, with the majority of spend going toward customer acquisition efforts, according to Dendy. He added that spend on CTV/OTT is expected to increase significantly as the brand continues to push toward brand awareness efforts. The CMO did not provide further details. 

For this campaign, Quility leveraged creative and performance agency Union for creative development. Other efforts are executed internally between Quility’s marketing and ad operations teams, per Dendy.

Quility is not alone in its increasing effort in the digital video advertising space. Merrell footwear, Vivid Seats and Adore Me have all leveraged streaming ads to beef up and diversify their media mixes. It’s a growing trend as eMarketer reportedly expected to see US investments in CTV reach $13.41 billion last year, doubling by the end of its forecast period in 2025. 

“Advertisers are drawn to how flexible CTV/OTT is and the ever-growing consumption of this channel,” Ashley Karim-Kincey, vp of media at Dagger ad agency, said in an email. “CTV/OTT affords brands the option to test an expansive space with current assets, which, for newly ignited brands like Quility, is the way to go.”

However, Karim-Kincey cautions brands not to put all of their eggs in one basket, and to instead layer in things like linear television, programmatic social and out-of-home advertising to the CTV and OTT campaign “for additional reach at a lower cost-per-impression.”

While the campaign featuring new mascot Quigley is Quility’s first foray into CTV and OTT advertising, Dendy said the channel seems promising and they’ll continue efforts going forward. 

“This is going to be a key component of how we’re going to engage new clientele, and it’s going to continue to grow,” he said. “As we continue to see the trajectory and directional metrics go this way, we will continue to invest more.”


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