Love her or hate her, the ubiquitous Esurance spokeswoman turns heads.

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Nov. 16 2006 6:42 PM

Who's That Girl?

Love her or hate her, the ubiquitous Esurance spokeswoman turns heads.

The sheer number of responses to Seth Stevenson's Ad Report Card is testament to the consumer awareness—if not success—of Esurance's latest ad campaign featuring the pink-haired anime figure Erin. For those of us unfamiliar, Rrhain recaps the origin story behind this Esurance girl who "chased by spies, crashes into a car dealership" and makes a quick getaway in another car, thanks to instant proof of auto insurance. Jack_Cerf provides here an even more detailed etymology of her character.

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For some, the ads are undeniably seductive. In this gushing post, pete1051 admits to a crush on Erin. After watching the spot, Birdy96 says her "attention was instantly grabbed" by the "bright colored cartoon characters."

From a marketing standpoint, Xando considers it very effective targeting of "certain demographics - namely, reasonably geeky guys who 'get' the pop culture references … that nicely coincides with the kind of people who would buy auto insurance off the web." Similarly, in this five-point minimanifesto on why Esurance ads rock, qsc concedes that age has a lot to do with the favorability of people's reactions: "it may come down to the fact that these commercials are for 30 year olds and younger, (and especially those who like anime and/or cartoons and/or action movies and/or hot-anime-chicks)."

For beatsworkin, however, the campaign is animated (literally) by a good premise, only to be undermined by "poor production quality":

In the clip Stevenson reviews, "auto insurance" is heard three times, "Esurance" is heard six times, and the entire dialogue is peppered with insurance jargon. The animation is appealing to Esurance's target market. The bright colors and fast-paced action held my attention span long enough for the company's name and purpose to settle in.

That said, there is a fatal flaw in the Esurance ad: poor production quality. The spot has a cheap, "local business" air about it. The voice-overs are unrealistically detached, the animation looks dated, and the background music is too quiet and formulaic. All of this makes me think of Esurance as a well-meaning company with poor execution--not what I want in an auto insurance provider.

In sharp disagreement, cbattle judges the production value excellent:

…examples of the best in Flash animation in the industry today. As for it looking "dated", that couldn't be further from the truth: The ads are part of a very contemporary style of animation with roots in mid-century animation/illustration that gained prominence with "Samurai Jack" in 2000, and continues to this day with shows like "Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends".

Last but not least, knotstandingstill laments the growing trend of using cartoon characters in ads:

Cartoons do not require enormous sums of compensation, nor do they merit any royalties. They also garner the attention of the youngest viewers...thereby setting up that name recognition before they even know that one day, they too, will need car insurance…

The most annoying cartoon character trend is the goofy and/or silly voice-overs. Though this is more prevelent in radio advertising, it has too many diciples in television. These same geniuses just got FAT off of a slew of political ads. They should be rounded up, and horse whipped.

You will find the Ad Report Card Fray brimming with other strident opinions on the matter. Interesting note: in contrast to the flashy style of its ads, the Esurance Web site is astoundingly bland. AC1:30pm PT