Beagle Street: The Happy for Life Project


Client: BGL Group
Product: Beagle Street Life Insurance
Category: Financial Services, Insurance
Agency: MEC
Country: United Kingdom
Year: 2015


Campaign Summary

Traditional life insurance marketing is formulaic. It focuses on targeting people older than 50 with a negative proposition that preys on consumers’ fears of how their families will cope financially in the event of their death.

Beagle Street Life Insurance, an online life insurance company, is part of the BGL Group, one of the UK’s largest consumer insurance groups. The company wanted to establish its foothold in the extremely competitive life insurance market by focusing on its customers’ and prospective customers’ well-being, particularly younger people who had not yet been targeted by other companies. Beagle Street conceived the Happy for Life project, a cross-platform partnership over mobile, apps, web, social and press. This successful campaign launched Beagle Street into the UK market as a challenger brand focusing on life insurance for this younger audience.


Objective and Context

Launched in October 2014, Beagle Street is a challenger brand in the very competitive life insurance category. The online life insurance company competes with high-profile brands such as Aviva, Sun Life and Legal & General, which have big media budgets usually focused on daytime direct-response TV. Life insurers generally target the older cohort, framing the proposition negatively. Effectively they say: “Buy life insurance to avoid causing your family financial distress when you die.”

Beagle Street didn’t want to sell based on fear, and it also lacked the media budget to compete on such terms. To get a foothold in the market, Beagle Street needed to be different – it needed to target a younger audience: people ages 26-35. This cohort, often with young families, is either too busy enjoying life to think about death or is burdened with new financial pressures and a mortgage. Only 20 percent hold a life insurance policy. By reaching this audience a decade or more before its competitors, Beagle Street could build a strong, largely untapped user base.

Beagle Street’s strategic business and marketing objectives were clear:

  • Challenge the category norms.
  • Drive sales for a challenger brand.
  • Deliver awareness of Beagle Street at the time of launch.


Creative Strategy

The MEC planning team proposed that younger people are more motivated by the promise of a better now than by fear of the future. This insight led to a strategy that turned the category on its head: instead of focusing on the negative, Beagle Street needed to inject positivity into its messaging by empowering young people to lead happier, longer lives.

How? By focusing on life. The idea was this: mental well-being leads to physical well-being.

If Beagle Street could help the audience find ways to alleviate mental stress, they would be happier and live longer. Beagle Street therefore needed a communication platform from which to show that it understood and supported the audience’s needs.

Beagle Street decided to provide content in and around health, mental well-being, mindfulness and self-improvement, but not through traditional media like TV. It did so under the banner of the Happy for Life project, a cross-platform partnership over mobile, apps, web, social and press. The Guardian turned out to be the perfect partner, as its progressive brand values and editorial coverage of areas such as health and technology aligned with Beagle Street’s aim. Moreover, The Guardian indexed at 200+ against the audience, allowing Beagle Street to deliver content via multiple platforms and at scale.

Beagle Street created a Happiness Hub on The Guardian’s website, which housed specially-commissioned mindfulness, health, mental well-being and self-improvement content. Beagle Street also built the Happiness app. People recorded how happy they were feeling, and then Beagle Street gave them a small task designed to make them happier.

Tasks included the following: Go for a 30-minute walk, have an early night, turn off your phone for an hour, call an old friend, spend 15 minutes in the garden, give away a book that you love, write down three things you’re thankful for, create an origami frog or buy or make someone a cup of tea.

Once people had completed each task, Beagle Street asked them to return to the app and let Beagle Street know if they were feeling happier.

The app and content hub were promoted across all of The Guardian’s media properties, including the paper, the desktop and mobile websites, email and social sites. The overall campaign budget was £350,000: £50,000 went to developing the app, £65,000 went to mobile ads and the remainder ran across the other touch points.

The mobile app was at the heart of the campaign, providing data to power online content and empirical evidence of the happiness of the nation. The app allowed Beagle Street to see the impact it was having. As individual data was collected, machine learning was used to tailor the life-affirming activity suggestions for individuals, thereby personalizing the recommendations. Users could review their own data, as well as aggregated data, comparing themselves against the nation as a whole or by location, age or sex.


Below are the results of the campaign:

  • Post-campaign ad awareness reached 32 percent, exceeding The Guardian’s 26 percent benchmark.
  • The app was downloaded by 30,000 people versus the target of 12,000.
  • The Guardian played a role in 15 percent of Beagle Street’s direct sales. Awareness of Beagle Street among Guardian readers was 60 percent higher than the base (37 percent vs. 23 percent), and consideration of Beagle Street among Guardian readers was 125 percent higher than the base (18 percent vs. 8 percent).
  • Happiness levels on opening the app increased steadily from 39 percent on December 1 to 47 percent, by February 20.
  • The campaign raised overall positivity towards insurance brands for The Guardian’s audience, from 56.2 percent in October 2014 to 60.6 percent in February 2015 (the general population average dropped from 57.6 percent to 55.7 percent in the same period).



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