defend your home with two guys talking about ketchup…

The “modern home insurance” brand Hippo recently created “Away Mode”, an Alexa skill that activates one of seven “awkward” conversations when enabled, ostensibly to trick would-be burglars ala Kevin McAllister.

But while it is a real skill, it’s actually designed as advertising to generate awareness for the three-year-old brand.

According to Hippo, “Hippo was looking for a way to engage a broad audience in a conversation about home security and home insurance. We figured it was easier to drive awareness and education through humour.

Why It’s Hot:

First, it’s another example of  “innovation” as advertising. And while stunts are nothing new in advertising, this is the first time a brand has used Alexa as the chosen platform on which to execute one.

But more importantly, it’s a beautiful way to emphasize its point of differentiation. Hippo bills itself generally as an insurance company with a different outlook, as a “tech company” that “leverages Smart Home technology to prevent disasters instead of simply responding to them”, and its insurance “protects smart home appliances and electronics”.


Do Humans Respond to Life or Death? Aetna “Give 11 minutes” Positive Reinforcement Anti-smoking Campaign.

Do humans react to negative or positive stimulation to change behavior? Are we more motivated by death or life? This is a huge unanswered question for the entire healthcare industry, mostly around patient non-adherence and the resulting negative outcome. One area where a massive amount of negative motivation has been used is around anti-smoking TV campaigns. Anti-smoking campaigns are famous for their outrageous, attention-grabbing technique of demonstrating the death-related implications of smoking — anyone recall the famous actor, Yul Brynner anti-smoking ad he did right before his death? ( But does it work? As behavior-minded marketers, do we need to really consider how re-framing a topic through the positive versus the negative makes a great impact?

Aetna launched their own anti-smoking campaign a year ago using positive, almost joyful reinforcement of why people should quit. Now they have expanded it with a

multi-channel, highly social campaign called “Gain more time — Machine 11.” The video tells the story best. Basically, you put in a cigarette and get a paper scroll that tells you that for every cigarette you don’t smoke, you gain 11 minutes of life…then they introduce you to a “life” event.

Why is this hot? Aetna, as a major insurance company, knows that the smoking population has a enormous impact on health and cost control. What is amazing is that they turned the behavior-change model on its head by reinforcing living — and why you should live then actually demonstrating it. This is brilliant and emotionally viral — you watch this video and you get it. The positive nature is so joyful you have an empathetic moment. Then they created a Tumblr-based site to pull you in and deepen the engagement with curated and Shared content.

HS aetna 11 minutes campaign 11.13

H Sauce aetna tumblr 2