If Insurance ‘Slow Down GPS’

AGENCY: Forsman & Bodenfors Gothenburg

AWARDS: Gold at Eurobest 2015



If P&C Insurance Ltd. is a leading insurance company in the Scandinavian region. If has the biggest market share in Sweden, Norway and Finland. Their current customer base sums up to approximately 3.6 million individuals.

Despite being a serious matter, people are hardly rational when it comes to choosing an insurance provider. Research suggests that brand liking plays the biggest role here. This doubles the pressure for insurance companies who are challenged to present an unexciting topic in a highly engaging way. Therefore, their task is to identify touching topics which could ignite conversations with potential customers.

If decided to address a meaningful matter – children and road safety. Anxious drivers are constantly ignoring speed limitations near schools and kindergartens, which leads to more road accidents involving children. Luckily, as emotional beings, we are programmed to instantly react to certain triggers, a child’s voice for example.




If is a property and casualty insurance company operating in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Russia. Sweden is actually one of the most competitive insurance markets out there. The industry consists of 275 insurance companies, 66 friendly societies and 45 branch offices and nine agents of non-Swedish companies. That’s a big bunch to choose from! The largest companies/groups include If, Trygg-Hansa, Moderna, Länsförsäkringar and Folksam (with a combined total of about 86% of the non-life insurance market).


We can hardly follow the speed limits on roads in general, hence it’s not surprising that we’re forgetting to slow down near high risk areas such as schools and kindergartens. 65% of calm and collected Scandinavians drive too fast in these areas. It’s hard for us to focus on a given moment, we’re constantly meditating about our past or future actions. Thus it’s hard for us to react to sudden changes on the road. But according to some credible science, kids’ voices will instantly force us to ‘snap out of it’.


The infamous Forsman & Bodenfors had clear objectives in mind for If’s marketing campaign. Firstly, they needed to identify a relevant topic for their target audience: people aged 25-55, often with kids living at home and at least one car in the family. Once again, nobody really cares about insurance, we choose insurance products based on some random emotional trigger. Moreover, it’s a rare buy in itself – once every seventh year, hence it’s important to remain high on the consideration list. Brand liking is key here.

With this tricky backstory in mind, the agency thought about road safety. They set out to raise awareness about the increasing number of accidents happening to children, ultimately offer a solution to the problem and consequently, up the brand liking for If.

“It started with us working together with If Insurance. We were trying to create things that people could actually engage with and which would be relevant to insurance. For advertisers, it’s very hard to make insurance interactive, it’s a difficult theme. It’s not exciting,” admits Samuel Akesson, Art Director at Forsman & Bodenfors Gothenburg.




“As a result of an intense brainstorming session we came up with this idea of addressing the problem of children in road accidents. This topic is very important for If Insurance as well. So how could we make traffic safe and create something engaging?” wondered Samuel Akesson from Forsman & Bodenfors Gothenburg.

Their solution was a voice navigation app called Slow Down GPS. But wait, it’s not your ordinary GPS app. Whenever the user reaches a child-dense area the navigation voice switches to a child’s voice.

It does sound a bit creepy at first, but considering the actual science behind it, it’s actually pretty ingenious. In addition to being a partial solution to a serious problem, the app is undoubtedly a perfect PR-generating topic. PR was indeed the central part of the campaign.

It took nearly a year to develop the app. Slow Down GPS is now available for free on iTunes and Google Play. You can download the app from anywhere, but the child-voice feature only works in Sweden, Finland and Norway (the app features schools and daycare centers in the Nordic region).


Slow Down GPS was meant to become a hot topic both in broadcast and wide spread digital media. PR was cleverly timed. The app was launched in correspondence with the bitter end of summer holidays and fully backed up by traditional advertising (from TVCs to banner ads). Concerned parents were invited to join the initiative by suggesting more locations for the child voice function.


According to Samuel Akesson the amount of branding was measured to perfection: “It’s clear enough. People will get the connection with the brand. It’s still advertising and the client has to benefit from it. However, it should feel like a service, the branding has to be subtle enough. Of course the aim is for people to like and acknowledge the brand for doing a good thing. “

A big high five to If for keeping the branding subtle. Slow Down GPS wasn’t connected to any specific product. There’s a high risk for an adverse effect of becoming cynical. The absence of a straightforward call-to-action made it feel like a service rather than a mischievous attempt to sell insurance to unsuspecting audience.



Nowadays, many brands have gone for a social/service-based marketing approach. Compared to a traditional sales campaign it’s pretty tricky to measure the ROI for such projects. Here’s Samuel’s five cents:

“Our main KPI was liking. Insurance is a very long-term process. People buy insurance every 7 years at best and the decision is mostly built upon pure liking. This campaign raised If Insurance’s liking by 48%. We clearly achieved what we set out to do. 81% of people we tracked believed that If is a company that really cares about people. Thus liking is a very valuable asset. “

  • The story spread to 164 countries and earned a potential reach of 87,500,000 people;
  • The second most downloaded navigation app in Scandinavia;
  • 20,000 people got engaged and contributed during the first two weeks with local knowledge of additional child-dense areas;
  • Brand liking: +46% over target. The goal was to generate a high brand liking among 50% of the target audience;
  • Outcome: 73% reported a high brand liking as an effect of the campaign. An all time high for If;
  • The idea has been selected for a research program on traffic safety at The Swedish National Road and Transport Institute.




“We focused on creating something good and useful. That’s the way to make people engage and interact with your brand. The fact that we didn’t connect the app with direct sales, but measured the overall liking makes very much sense when you create something useful for people. With insurance, the length of the sales cycle requires you to be patient. You can’t expect instant results. This made it much easier to convince the client,” believes Samuel Akesson from Forsman & Bodenfors Gothenburg.

Insurance is an incredibly boring product. Fact. When it comes to choosing a provider, people are uninterested in product specifics, it’s a blind guess based on pure liking. Moreover, insurance products are bought in average once every 7 years – a very small window. Thus the brand went for increasing their likeability. Slow Down GPS is a great branded tool: nicely coated by a meaningful topic, PR-ble and undoubtedly useful.


Details can sometimes make or break your campaign. In this case, the first thing we noted was a very polished case film/ promo video. Today, the video has more than 500k views and probably classifies as a viral! Samuel said they didn’t use any seeding whatsoever. Your video has to be interesting. Period. He believes that celebrities have been replaced by innovation and changing the society.








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