Romeo and Juliet. Antony and Cleopatra. Elizabeth Bennett and Mr, Darcy. And now: Rhonda and Ketut. Not only the most romantic thing since Leo and Kate, but also a killer advertising campaign that lasted three whole years, captured our millennial hearts and spawned a host of fan advertising (fanvertising??). The proud parents of Australia’s favourite couple are Ogilvy Melbourne and they must be very proud indeed. Their baby made it. And made it big.
It all started back in October 2011 when the Australian public was introduced to our favourite redhead, Rhonda (Sorry, Jules. Sorry not sorry, Pauline). You might remember those first ads – Rhonda being applauded as she walked down the street as though she had just won Olympic Gold for car racing and not reward points for basically the exact opposite. They were good ads, but nothing particularly interesting. And certainly not interesting enough to capture the attention of a millennial audience whose experience of car insurance mostly revolved around paying higher premiums on account of their age and listening to lots of hold music.
We were ready to forget the whole thing until we met Ketut a little while later. Rhonda was visiting Bali with all of the money she had saved on the AAMI Safe Driver Rewards program. Ketut was a staff member at the hotel she was staying in. He was a boy, she was a girl. I can’t make it any more obvious.
The udeng-toting babe, won our hearts with a ‘you’re looking very hot today, Rhonda.’, which had the same impact on our love muscles as ‘as you wish’ in the Princess Bride. It’s the kind of thing teenagers secretly hoped for on awkward family holidays. Probably parents too. We were in love, and we’ve been rooting for them ever since.
Ogilvy didn’t rest there. Being the smarties that they were, they partnered with Pacific Magazines and Yahoo7 and used AAMI’s existing relationships with Hamish & Andy, Channel 7’s AFL broadcast, Channel 10’s Big Bash and a bunch of other events to get a WHO Sexiest People 2013 campaign going for Ketut and firmly establishing the couple within our cultural zeitgeist. They brought the story to where millennials were and sold it to us as a narrative first and an ad second. Our space didn’t feel invaded; rather, we were welcoming them in because we really wanted to know what would happen next.
Every love story needs an Other Man (Paris, Caesar, Mr. Wickham…) and Australian audiences were thrown into turmoil when AAMI introduced us to Rhonda’s teenage crush, Trent Toogood, at her high school reunion in August 2013. Cashing in on our collective bated breath, AAMI launched a ‘Who’s Right for Rhonda?’ voting page which also had a social media post feed and two related hashtags, #teamketut and #teamtrent. Again, Channel 7’s AFL broadcast was used to spruik this and even had commentators debating which man was right for her. This interactivity was a brilliant move because it made us all feel involved. We had a say so we felt part of the team. If only elections could inspire us in the same way.
Thankfully, Australia made the right choice and Rhonda and Ketut were reunited in a final TV ad in January 2014 where they exchanged ‘Saya cinta kamus’ (the choice of using the Indonesian form of ‘I love you’ was also a great choice which earned AAMI points for multiculturalism and acceptance with millennials; particularly important at a time when Australia was beginning to look more and more like a southern USA state). While all sources indicate that that’s the end of the Rhondut story, I’m still secretly hoping for a wedding special.
And that’s exactly what made these ads so successful. Australians wanted more. We loved them. Even though each ad included information about AAMI’s 15% safe driver discount, we never felt marketed to. We felt like something was being shared with us and that something was beautiful and funny and engaging.
The campaign was spread across all forms of media: TV, radio, newspaper, outdoor, online, social media… It gave AAMI, an otherwise plain Jane brand a personality and managed to make insurance (insurance of all things!) sexy and fun. The idea behind the safe driver discount was brilliant too, as it played into everyone’s (sometimes misplaced) belief that *they* are a good driver and their desire to save money in order to spend it on gorgeous luxuries like pina coladas and massages on the beach. It acknowledged that people don’t claim on insurance, it often feels like a bit of a waste and gave them a way to feel better about that expense. These things aren’t particularly interesting to millennials on account of our more limited experience with car insurance, and so the fact that AAMI managed to engage us is all the more impressive. We were so enthralled that we ended up doing a lot of the grunt work for them.
Rhondut saw a bunch of fanvertising in the form of fan pages, memes, hashtags and even Ketut knock-off t-shirts. The Facebook page ‘The sexual tension between Rhonda & Ketut’ garnered over 100,000 likes within a week. The runaway success of the campaign meant that everyone was talking about it, creating organic advertising that felt authentic and unscripted. Indeed, it generated $1.5M in earned media through news reports, radio and social media.
According to Marketing Online, awareness hit a high of 72% and saw a 56% increase in spontaneous consideration for AAMI, making it one of the most successful marketing campaigns in Australian history.
The story’s been over for two years now and Australia is ready for the next big thing. Want to know more about what it takes to market to millennials, like AAMI? Sign up to receive our YCM 411 and get the lowdown on everything Youth Culture Marketing.