This is a very old entry — images are small, formatting is off.
Only slightly older than ten years old, founded in 1998, San Francisco-based Esurance is one of the leading direct-to-consumer auto insurance companies in the U.S. and one of the better known providers of such unappealing service. Until now, Esurance had been represented by a very generic sunset logo and personalized in the form of Erin Esurance, an animated, pink-haired superhero. Earlier this month, Esurance went through a complete transformation with a new identity and national campaign titled “Techie Feely,” both created by San Francisco-based Duncan/Channon.
The revamped identity system and new type-only Esurance logo is designed to deliver a singular message: that the company that pretty much invented online car insurance continues to innovate on behalf of busy consumers, relentlessly striving to make the process of buying or using its products more intuitive, more convenient, more transparent and — yes, Feelies — more friendly. It’s about smartness in the service of simplicity.
— Duncan/Channon project page
The old logo was dot-com-bad with clunky typography and snap-on icon that could have been appended to a number of other companies, so it’s nice to see it stroll into the horizon it depicts. The same could be argued for the new logo, an all lowercase, rounded sans serif like dozens of others and while I would agree that the logo is unmemorable nor does it depict “auto insurance” its role is secondary to the bigger identity statement, which is basically, “we’ve grown up.” As far as all lowercase, rounded sans serif wordmarks go, this one is nicely done with proper kerning and the combination of letters in the name works nicely in that typeface — funny how those same characters can look so horsey n the previous humanist sans serif. Also, the typography does manage to convey a “Techie Feely” attitude, especially in all the applications.
Esurance President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Tolman said, “We’ve leveraged great brand equity in Erin over the years, and she’s played a significant role in making us the third-most shopped auto insurance brand among online consumers. As Esurance continues to grow, we’re expanding our target customer base and want to show consumers that our company offers not only innovative technology, but also superior around-the-clock customer service.”
— Press Release
Perhaps more important than the logo change is the retirement of Erin as the spokesperson for Esurance. While she was hot, in that superhero chic kind of way, the animated ads were a little too friendly and lacked some seriousness that may have swayed customers to pick a company that was slightly less cartoonish. Taking the place of Erin are four new characters whose unifying characteristic is that they are dorks. Maybe lovable dorks, but dorks nonetheless. They have the challenge to compete in a very crowded industry with the heavy-handed characters pictured above and based on the new ads, I would say they almost succeed in giving Esurance its own voice, one that might be more resonant than Erin. My favorite part of the ads though is how they kept Erin in the background, as the decor of the office, rather than just dumping her with the fishes over Golden Gate Bridge.
Update: The number of new characters will grow to not just the four currently featured, all launch ads can be seen here, showing some additional dorks. The typography is a custom version of Process Type Foundry’s Bryant, customized by Eric Olson himself.