Since esure was launched in 2001 as a joint venture between former Direct Line chief executive Peter Wood and Halifax Bank of Scotland, the company has become one of the UK's fastest growing general insurers.
However, although it has a high-name recognition for its motor insurance products - thanks in part to the high-profile TV ad campaign starring Michael Winner - the same could not be said of its home insurance business, despite the fact that it was initially piloted back in September 2001, with active marketing beginning in March 2002.
To increase public awareness of esure's home insurance offering and, in doing so, to increase the number of customer enquiries for quotes.
Strategy and Plan
esure's in-house PR team wanted consumers to associate the esure brand with the home, and decided to commission a home-related survey they could then sell-in to the media.
Insurance is not the most exciting of services to have to sell, so the team decided the survey should take on a comic twist to gain more coverage.
It asked respondents to name the top white elephant gifts in their home, the kind of item that was purchased as a labour-saving device, used once, put away, and then never used again.
Top of the list came that venerable white elephant of kitchen appliances the sandwich maker, closely followed by other luminaries such as pasta makers, bread makers and electric carving knives.
Due to the team's small PR budget, rather than tailor angles for individual papers, the results and accompanying press release were passed on to the Press Association on a Sunday, with an embargo until the next day, thus allowing many media outlets to pick up on the story.
To reinforce the key message, all material quoted esure Home Insurance, rather than just esure.
Measurement and Evaluation
The press picked up on the quirky aspect of the survey, with coverage given in The Telegraph, the Mirror, the Daily Mail, The Independent and the Daily Express. The Sun also gave over a whole page to the country's most useless gadgets and, like all the coverage before it, mentioned esure Home Insurance.
The survey was also mentioned on BBC Radio 2, and IRN, which was then syndicated to a further 260 commercial radio stations, as well as BBC World Service and 17 other regional BBC stations.
By the end of September, requests for home insurance quotes were 50 per cent higher than the previous monthly high. It was also esure Home Insurance's highest new business month, with a 55 per cent increase in the number of home insurance policies sold.