American Family Insurance enlists star athletes to tell heartwarming stories

American Family Insurance

BBDO New York and Elite Media are helping American Family Insurance tell heartwarming stories through three short films starring the company’s brand ambassadors, Derek Jeter, Kevin Durant and J.J. Watt.

The films are running under the tagline “Every Dream Deserves a Champion” and are part of the insurance provider’s broader “Insure Carefully, Dream Fearlessly” campaign.

The three short films are designed to inspire people to find, follow and achieve their dreams, and their uplifting stories help engage consumers on an emotional level.

The two films by BBDO New York feature Watt, Jeter and Durant showing up unexpectedly to provide assistance to hardworking people whose companies are helping give back to their communities.

“School on Wheels” is a program that offers educational assistance to children living on the streets. In the commercial of the same name, Jeter, Durant and Watt surprise the regional director, Charles, and work with the children on their math, reading and drawing. The second BBDO-helmed ad, “With Love Market,” the three ambassadors help out Alexis and Andrew – who run With Love Market & Café, making healthy food accessible and affordable – by making juice, stocking shelves and helping around the store.

In the third short film, “Hometown Hero,” created by Elite Media, “Hometown Hero,” Durant surprises James, a young boy from his hometown who thinks he’s waiting to appear on a talk show to discuss how his single mother supports his dream of being a dancer. Durant offers encouragement and shares what his own single mother told him as a young, aspiring athlete.

The campaign also features “I Know Better” from John Legend, the newest American Family brand ambassador.

The films run roughly two minutes each, but two have been edited into 30-second TV spots as well.

“Customers choose American Family Insurance because we engage with them through meaningful content that reaches beyond traditional advertising, daring them to dream fearlessly, knowing we’re protecting them along the way,” said Telisa Yancy, chief marketing officer for American Family Insurance. “Our brand ambassadors are an important part of this message – supporting and championing dreams, sharing their own stories, struggles and achievements, and providing inspiration by example.”

The advertising reflects the brand’s positioning that being a true dream champion means providing real support, not just cheering from the sidelines. For the athletes, this campaign was more than just being spokespeople.

“Getting to talk to James and encourage his dreams was an amazing moment for me,” said Durant. “It’s important to me to be able to connect with people one-on-one and make a difference, and I'm glad I was able to do that with this campaign.”

“Seeing people achieve their dreams is something that resonates with me,” added Jeter. “It was rewarding to have a part in this and see others’ dreams come to life.”

Said Watt, “We’ve had people encouraging us to work toward our dreams throughout our careers. To be able to help people, who are in turn helping others, was humbling.”

“Our brand ambassadors are great examples of the power of dreams and having the support of others who believe in you through your journey,” said Julie Schaubroeck, associate vice president, brand and consumer marketing at American Family Insurance. “We’ve taken our insure carefully, dream fearlessly campaign a step further by seeing our brand ambassadors – who had dreams they achieved partly because of the support of family, friends and community – championing the dreams of others.”

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