Crowdsourcing The Next NW Profile

PEMCO Profiles

In 2007, my team at PEMCO Insurance and I changed the face of marketing in the Pacific Northwest. Not just for an insurance carrier mind you, but for an entire region of brands regardless of category. The “We’re A Lot Like You. A Little Different.” advertising campaign, conceptualize by DNA, Seattle, was based on the insight that our northwest neighbors, very passionate about the corner of the world where we live, weren't nearly as excited about insurance. The idea was to shine a light on the unique, quirky, offbeat characters that make the Northwest special, and clearly establish PEMCO as the local company that is just as unique as the people living here. A company that truly "gets it" because we live, work, learn and play in the same neighborhoods and communities as they do.

In order to show them that we know them in ways that others don't, the PEMCO Northwest Profiles were born. Over 100 types of local characters found in this special region - highly recognizable to those who know the area and culture intimately. The campaign, which was launched in television, radio, print, out-of-home, online and through strategic partnerships, gained popularity and talk about PEMCO and the Northwest Profiles increased and consumer suggestions for new profiles were offered frequently.

PEMCO adapted the campaign landing page ( to become a place where people could upload photos and descriptions of their own Northwest Profiles – and we experienced our first taste of crowdsourcing. Suggestions for new types extended to conversations on Twitter, Facebook, and the PEMCO blog. Local television stations and print media began referencing the Northwest Profiles in their news stories. 

While the success of the campaign continues – it was recently named by Seattle Magazine as the “Best Local Ad Campaign We Never Tire Of,” – PEMCO is always looking for ways to extend the brand and engage with fans and advocates. In 2012 we took the next step in crowdsourcing by creating a contest encouraging fans to create and submit a 30-60 second video audition to “ Be the Next PEMCO Northwest Profile.”


The primary objective was to increase consumer engagement with the PEMCO brand by encouraging local residents to submit original video content via social media channels. It was about empowering conversations and finding a relatively simple way to invite participation and sharing, while staying true to the PEMCO brand. We would strive to be genuine, relevant and hyper-local in every activity and at every touch point. We recognized the importance of hosting engaging and relevant organic conversations without artificially making it about selling insurance. It had to be fun and create smiles.
In order to implement and host the contest, PEMCO partnered with the Seattle based crowdsourcing specialists at ZOOPPA. Submitted video auditions were posted for review on a microsite where people voted for their favorite, and shared it with their social networks. At the end of the contest, all video submissions were reviewed by PEMCO, their marketing partners, and a panel of local celebrity judges to determine the top 12 winning videos. All winners received a prize (in total, worth over $18,000), and three videos with the most user-votes received special Northwest prize packages. PEMCO also has plans to reward the first place winner by incorporating the Northwest Profile into the companies advertising campaign.
Last month I had the opportunity to share this most recent addition to the PEMCO Playbook with attendees at the annual WOMMA Summit in Las Vegas. The quality of the submissions and the lessons learned were remarkable and valuable to us. I hope you find the presentation informative and helpful as well.

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The Fine Print

Rod Brooks (that's me) is VP & CMO of PEMCO Mutual Insurance Company and serves as Immediate Past Chair of the Board of Directors for the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA).  It's important to disclose both of those relationships and to be clear that this is my personal blog where I share thoughts and opinions that are solely my own.  Contact me!

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