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Industry: Transport & Tourism
Media:Promotion & Event
Style: Minimalism
Why is this work relevant for Media?

By using targeted media to publicly and unexpectedly kill our brand mascot, we took potential customers on a simulated journey of what it’s like to suddenly lose someone close(ish) to them. From death, to mourning, to life insurance claim, every channel was implemented to make apathetic young New Zealanders understand the importance of life insurance first-hand, for when they themselves pass away and leave loved ones behind.


LifeDirect is New Zealand’s leading life insurance aggregation website. For almost ten years, the face of the brand has been their obscure mascot ‘Simon the Sloth’ – a lethargic, animated character who, not surprisingly, had lost relevance. We were tasked with reinvigorating the brand, and driving leads, awareness, and web traffic amongst New Zealanders 25 – 35; a demographic with an ever-increasing responsibility to insure themselves for the benefit of their dependents. The problem is, they view death as a distant, irrelevant issue.

As far as the category is concerned, in 2016, New Zealand had the third lowest uptake of insurance among 31 OECD countries. As New Zealand's leading life insurance comparison site, LifeDirect aggregates policies from many different brands, so they looked to benefit from increased interest in the category as a whole.

Describe the creative idea/insights (30% of vote)

As a real-time demonstration of the unpredictability of life, and the significant benefits of life insurance, we killed our longstanding mascot, Simon.

Past campaign research showed that New Zealanders didn’t know what Simon stood for, or why he was relevant to life insurance; they knew him as ‘that sloth on tv’ but couldn’t link him to the brand. He was well-known enough that we could kill him off, and ambiguous enough that people wouldn’t hold it against us. We were in a unique position where we could kill a mascot not just figuratively, but literally. Not many brands can get away with that a) because their mascots are loved and b) death isn't relevant to their category.

Describe the strategy (20% of vote)

The strategy was simple: use media to take apathetic consumers on a journey of losing someone close(ish) to them.

Describe the execution (20% of vote)

First up, we pushed Simon off a cliff on ‘live’ TV – 25 national channels during primetime, aired just once - leaving viewers with nothing but unanswered questions. As intended, this whipped up a social media ‘WTF’ storm. The following day, we published a full-page obituary in the national dailies, announcing that Simon had died, but he’d failed to specify his life insurance beneficiaries. This was supported by digital outdoor and a 'memorial video' from LifeDirect staff on their social channels. Kiwis who ‘knew’ Simon were then invited to share stories about their relationship with him, in order to win a slice of the pay-out. Perhaps you were his long-lost twin? Or an ex-lover from his days in the Navy? As well as sharing the stories via the entrants’ social channels, the microsite was essentially a hub for data collection, gathering email addresses and redirecting visitors to upon completion.

List the results (30% of vote)

32% increase in site traffic (
44% increase in brand preference
17,000+ microsite visits
8,691 unique entries
9.6% increase in quotes
12.7 million impressions
Production Company:
Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2019
Bronze Media
Use of TV & Other Screens
Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2019
Shortlist Brand Experience & Activation
Retail Promotions & Competitions
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