|Hometown||San Francisco, CA|
|Fun Fact||Failed her drivers’ test three times before passing.|
Esurance may be a relative newcomer to the insurance space, but that doesn’t mean they’ve let their competitors design all the memorable mascots. In 2004, Esurance debuted Erin Esurance, a mild-mannered insurance agent who turned into a pink-haired, cat-suited crime fighter by night – specifically, the crime of less transparent, more expensive insurance. Erin out-skiied, out-wrestled and out-shot her opponents, who were often portrayed as giant robots, all while reminding a dashing Esurance customer about the company’s benefits, like 24/7 claim service and convenient, printable ID cards.
In one commercial, Erin plays goalie at a hockey game, defending the net against a group of robots, representing the competition. While deflecting their shots, she explains how easy it is to get auto insurance quotes through Esurance. Her sometime-love interest acts as the announcer. In the end, of course, Erin defeats overpriced insurance.
Erin was originally designed in-house, by Esurance staff member Kristen Brewe. Brewe continued to take an active role in the campaign, and wrote all of the ads. Erin was featured in over 30, in all. By mixing insurance – something most perceive as a hassle – with the fun of superhero cartoons, Erin was intended to engage viewers, especially men. She received much of her airtime on male-oriented networks like the SciFi channel and Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, and one ad featured her in the shower.
Unfortunately, Erin’s appeal was also part of her downfall. Esurance dropped her as its spokes-cartoon in 2010 – though she still appeared in the occasional commercial – after her internet search results were overwhelmed with homemade porn, rather than actual ads. Some reviewers had also panned the campaign from the start, saying that it didn’t make sense, and Erin surveyed poorly with viewers. Of those who recognized her – in 2009, she had only 13% awareness, according to CBS News – she was rated low in believability and humor. She was, however, rated highly for “sexiness.”
Erin was voiced by Mo Mellady, a voice-over actress whose other credits include ads for Sony, Nissan and Bank of America. Mellady also founded Planet Check, a media company dedicated to producing news stories about environmental issues.
Founded in 1999, Esurance claims to provide “insurance for the modern world,” using a mostly-online format to simplify customers’ lives and help reduce waste. The company also offers a wide variety of coverage options – customers can buy policies protecting their pets and cell phones, along with more standard plans – optional auto insurance and discounts. For example, alums and current students at Pac-12 schools can save up to 15% on their policies.
However, while Esurance has replaced Erin – most recently with a series of ads featuring the proud and technologically backward – she lives on online, both in fans’ saucy illustrations and their creative biographies. One makes some guesses about her childhood, imagining her as a tomboy with a single mother, who grew up in a trailer park and resorted to pin-up modelling to put herself through college. No matter what she’s selling – and even if she’s not selling anything at all – Erin Esurance has captivated imaginations.