Sometimes it's what you don't say

July 18, 2011

A few people thought I was being a little hard on Nationwide’s pitchman Dale Earnhardt Jr. when I picked on him for his regional pronunciation of “insurance” a while back.

A few people thought I was being a little hard on Nationwide’s pitchman Dale Earnhardt Jr. when I picked on him for his regional pronunciation of “insurance” a while back (Nationwide goes nationwide, February 23, 2011).

I didn't mean to go all Henry Higgins on him, but It just seemed to me like a more neutral pronunciation of the company’s name and core product might be better for a coast-to-coast brand.

Watching the NASCAR Nationwide Series race this past weekend, though, I was surprised that Junior still didn’t pronounce “insurance” correctly. It wasn’t the “in-shoor-ance” of new. But it wasn’t the “EN-shurance” of old either. It wasn’t anything. He didn’t say the word at all.

He wasn’t pitching Nationwide Insurance. He was pitching Nationwide, the company, the more-than-just-insurance brand. What the company stands for. Who they do — and don’t — answer to. The promise, the perception — but not the product.

Welcome to the world of corporate branding, Dale. And well done to whoever made the leap.

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