Direct Line changes direction in shift away from low-price claim

The insurance company Direct Line is distancing itself from the price-led advertising it pioneered, with new advertising promoting itself as the answer to a wide range of everyday insurance problems.

The young couple and two elderly women, who made their debuts in the company's umbrella campaign launched last year, remain in the new campaign, which is set to debut on national TV.

Mortimer Whittaker O'Sullivan created the pair of 30-second commercials, which will spearhead Direct Line's campaign supported by a £15 million budget for the year. The change of tactic is cited as a significant reason for a 36 per cent rise in pre-tax profits reported by the company last week.

The new advertising builds on Direct Line's efforts to extend its famous red telephone icon beyond its original motor insurance associations. The move is seen as a recognition that price alone is no longer a competitive advantage in the sector.

MediaCom is buying media for the campaign, which extends the company's strategy of relying on a heavy TV presence to check quickly if its advertising is raising awareness and driving sales.

In one ad, promoting Direct Line's claims advisors, an old lady tantalises another with talk of a mysterious man called Jeremy. He turns out to be a Direct Line staffer who has come to help with a claim.

The ads were written by Daniel Fagg and Matt Fee and art directed by Emilie Moore and Tim Snape. They were directed by Ed Sayers through Godman.

Tim Mortimer, the agency's managing director, said: "People are genuinely fascinated by the relationships they see portrayed in ad campaigns."