Root Insurance - Stupid Simple

Why should people consider you over your competition? And also, can you answer that in less than 30 seconds?

That’s the challenge we took on with Root when we helped them gain awareness with their target audience.

Goal & Strategy

The goal of this project was very simple, to drive more awareness of Root’s offerings. Car insurance is a highly competitive field when it comes to marketing. Companies like Geico spend billions of dollars to stay top of mind with their potential customers. Root, like most companies, didn't have billions of dollars to spend. They do however have something Geico doesn’t have, an honest product that truly saves their customers money by removing the things that good drivers have to pay extra for including marketing budgets, agents and bad drivers.

To gain more awareness of their brand, Root would run a series of online ads to reach their audience using an animation we’d create for them. Their target audience for this campaign? 21-35 year old's on YouTube. YouTube ads can be incredibly challenging because you only have about 5 seconds to get people to pay attention and get your message across before they click away.

With every video you use for your business, you should only try to accomplish one thing. In this case it was to introduce their brand to people. However, if people stick around to watch the remainder of the video, we wanted to get them to the next step of the sales funnel.


We decided to create 3 different versions of the each spot so we can actually test which works best. When using paid ads online, it’s often incredibly easy to test different versions of the same ad to see which works best. So, the story needed to work in 3 formats, 7 seconds, 15 seconds and 30 seconds. This became quite a challenge because we needed to make sure the story/scripts were written in a way that could be complete in a long form as well as shortened into smaller edits.


To deliver these messages quickly to their audience we knew we had to be simple with what we said to be remembered, one might even say, “stupid simple”.

Art Direction

The idea of “stupid simple”, was one of the key ideas for not only the story, but for the art direction as well. How simple could we tell this story? Basic shapes came up, but we wanted to create something more visually interesting to get people's attention. So, what about those block shapes kids play with?


The one big thing we know about ads on YouTube is that more often than not, people are going to click away after the 5 seconds. Take a look at most ads on YouTube and you’ll notice that even YOU click away from ads before you even know what the company or product is. Our solution to this problem became a sort of reversal in the video presentation. Many commercials you see show the logo really big at the end of the video. We decided to show the logo really big on the very first scene and then go into the story.

As far as color goes, Root is one of the only car insurance companies to use orange in their branding. Everyone else basically goes with the boring blues that “make people feel calm and trusting”, blah blah blah. Since Root made the decision to stand out, we’d do just that by using their orange (with a tiny bit of yellow) as the only color. This was also used as a tool to guide the viewer's eye and make sure they knew what to pay attention to.



Like all the other elements, the animation would be simple. Sometimes simplicity isn’t also easy though. One of the big challenges when it came to animation was to use real world physics so the car’s wheels spin realistically.


As you can see from one of the first attempts, this stuff can sometimes make you laugh out loud on complete accident. Once we got that working, we actually made a sort of map that we could use to figure out where the car needed to be at which point in the script.



A key to the voice over on this project was to keep it real and use it as a way to differentiate from the big car insurance companies. We went with a more conversational read to do just that and give people a break from the sensational claims they’re used to hearing.

The music was another area we chose to stand out. To be honest, a corporate sounding track would have sounded weird if we used it with these visuals (perfect!). So we decided to use something with a bit more “hit” to continue letting people know that Root isn’t the same as the other guys.


As mentioned a few times already, these animations were distributed as YouTube ads.

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