AAMI Is Belittling Women

By: Joan MacDougal - February 18, 2016

AAMI’s New Ads Make Call Center Girls Look Dumb.

Is anyone else as disappointed as I am in AAMI’s new advertising campaign? I hope so, because even under the loose guise of humour, I really think it belittles women.

Firstly let me say I think AAMI is a great company and I’m a happy and loyal customer. Over the years I’ve also enjoyed their advertising campaigns, particularly Rhonda and Katut. And given I’m in the business, I get that ad campaigns need to be refreshed and re-energised. I also get that sometimes they need to take different directions.

On this occasion though, I believe AAMI and their agency have got things terribly wrong!

AAMI’s executive manager marketing, Josh Wittner, said “Over the decades, the AAMI girl in various guises has always been there: her turn, her headset, her smile. In many ways, she’s an AAMI brand icon, instantly familiar to all Australians. The decision to utilise this brand icon in our latest campaign provided another opportunity for AAMI to create a meaningful connection with customers while still using our trademark humour.”

I agree the AAMI woman who wraps up all their commercials with a friendly smile is one of the most powerful brand icons in Australia. She resonates confidence, concern and caring. All the things I expect from an insurance company in a time of vulnerability and need. So why would you build a campaign that belittles her and all other female call center operators?

Ogilvy Melbourne, AAMI’s long standing agency stated “it was finally time to do something with the power of AAMI’s recognisable brand asset, the AAMI girl. And bring her to life, in an unexpected, bold and fun way. In a ‘not very insurancey’ way.” I’m sorry guys but for mine, you blew it. You have belittled the credibility of your own brand icon.

What the new campaign says to me is that you’ve taken your symbol that resounds in confidence and care and turned it into a bimbo that goes out chasing storms. No longer does she give me the feeling that she’s using that calm, reason and intelligence to support me in my time of need. The only statement I agree with from Ogilvy is that it’s not very insurancey.

Taking it a step further, if I run a coffee house and the water pipes break overhead and water is steaming everywhere. When I call AAMI I don’t want the call center girls racing over with umbrella’s to keep the water off my customers. I want them on the phone finding me a repairer who can actually fix the problem. Although I don’t know if that is even their role, I would probably ring the repairer myself. I do know that what I would really want from the call center operator is that they get my claim processed as efficiently as possible.

In past campaign’s the goofiness and silliness has always been us. It’s been us having a silly accident or a duck pooping on the car. The incompetence has never been with the people I’m relying on for support.

I rarely take on the defense of women. There are many other high profile advocates who do that very well, far better and more eloquently than me. But I’ll leave you with this thought…

Would an advertiser have tried this campaign using an all men run call center??


If you haven’t seen the ads take a look. I’m sure I’m not alone in my feelings re this very disappointing campaign.



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