February 19, 2014
A young Olympian’s calamity has turned into an insurance company’s marketing opportunity, USA Today reports.
Heidi Kloser, 21 years old and one of America’s top-ranked skiers, took a much-publicized fall on the slopes on Feb. 6, one day before the opening ceremonies in Sochi, leaving her with a fractured leg and torn ligaments. Millions of American TV viewers had their heart stings plucked during the ceremonies when a brave Kloser, surrounded by Team USA athletes, walked into the stadium on crutches.
Just 13 days later, a TV commercial is turning her misfortune into an inspirational ad for Liberty Mutual Insurance that will air Wednesday night during NBC’s broadcast of the Sochi Games.
Ad executive Alex Bogusky reportedly sent a direct Twitter message to Liberty Mutual, advising the insurance company to quickly feature Kloser in one of its rise-from-the-ashes Olympic commercials. “This is a real testament to the power of social media,” says Paul Alexander, Liberty Mutual’s chief communications officer.
“[Ad agencies] are realizing that real-time response to consumers is very powerful, engaging and attention-getting,” says David Stewart, marketing professor at Loyola Marymount University. “The key is to be creative enough while the issue is still relevant.”
Kloser, the United States Olympic Committee and NBC all agreed to the idea of featuring her in the ad, USA Today reports. Kloser returned to the United States last week to begin physical therapy while awaiting surgery, and crews filmed the commercial at her parents’ home in Vail, Colo.
“I’ve always wanted to be an Olympian,” she says in the TV ad. “I didn’t want that dream to be shattered just because I fell.” — Greg Beaubien