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Mark Kolakowski

Worst Insurance Ad Ever?

By November 21, 2013

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Is the MetLife commercial called Dad's Accident sending the wrong message? Since the spring of 2013, it has been a staple on low-budget cable stations that feature re-runs of old TV shows. If you haven't seen it, you can view it right here on YouTube.

Two adult daughters discuss with their mom what to do about their dad. He's apparently a retiree about 65-70 years of age, and the discussion is prompted by his having fallen off a ladder while cleaning the gutters of his home. Dad eventually comes walking down the stairs of his home with an arm in a sling, looking reasonably fit otherwise.

At this point, the reaction of any sensible viewer should be obvious. Mom and the daughters should order dad to stop climbing up on ladders! If he's too cheap, the daughters should pony up the funds to pay for handymen to do such risky chores.

All my friends who've seen this commercial report having the same immediate reaction. However, this is not where the commercial is headed.

Instead, the daughters convince mom that what they really need to do is take out a life insurance policy on dad--good grief!

Implication, intended or not: now you've got clearance to fall and kill yourself, dad. We'll get a payout from MetLife. Disgraceful.

What indeed are the marketing department at MetLife and their ad agency thinking?

It should be noted, however, that MetLife has made some subtle changes to this commercial during its run. Now it specifically promotes final expense life insurance.

Moreover, what do you think? Feel free to add a comment. Plenty of other people already have--this commercial seems to have struck a nerve.

Comments
July 30, 2013 at 11:02 am
(1) Alfred says:

A decade ago, MetLife called me out of the blue for an interview. I had no idea why, but I went anyway. They gave me a test before a presentation. This presentation then explained what they sought in a candidate. The late arrivals took the test after the presentation, giving them an unfair advantage.

I was not happy with this slapdash approach, so I turned down the job. Before I even had a chance to send in a rejection, I received such a letter the very next day.

It was obvious from speaking to others that MetLife had no clue about what they were doing. I resolved at that time never to do business with them. Such an advertisement merely confirms my resolve in 2003.

August 8, 2013 at 1:48 pm
(2) Terri says:

I just watched this ad again. I’ve seen it a lot lately. I was curious if anyone else thought this was a terrible commercial. It’s laughable really. Going from a broken arm to a coffin in a matter of a split second is ridiculous. And did you notice that when the panicked daughter runs in the house she goes to her mother. If it were me I would go to my father first to see how he was doing. The dad looked okay to me broken arm and all. Nagging my parents to get life insurance wouldn’t even be on my mind. In fact, I would consider it none of my business. The parents are not senile, I’m sure they can take care of themselves and make their own decisions. Oh, and why did the daughter stick around while the mother made that phone call? Just so she knows she gets some money when her parents die? This is truly a stupid ad……..

August 26, 2013 at 3:37 pm
(3) Caroline says:

Oh thank goodness I found a place to post my absolute disgust with this commercial, and especially that obnoxious younger daughter. When she comes into the room with her “oh-now-what-did-Dad-do?” look on her face, I just want to smack it off her.In addition to that, Dad comes in all sheepish and embarrassed, Why? So he fell and hurt himself. That doesn’t make him a clown. The look on “Mom’s” face when daughter insists on making the call says it all. She’s thinking, “what kind of person is this daughter of mine?”

I hate the impression it gives that our elder adults are just stupid foolish characters that have to be pushed around and “raised” by their know-it-all children. If I were in the market for such insurance, I would not buy it from this company. Of course this kind of insurance is a rip-off anyway.

September 24, 2013 at 11:00 am
(4) Laura H-S says:

Absolutely terrible ad! The two daughters look like vultures, jumping on this accident to increase the inheritance rather than helping out mom and dad. I called the company at the number in the ad and told them what I thought. The only response was, “Thank you for calling Metlife. Have a good day.” and they hung up on me.

October 4, 2013 at 3:04 pm
(5) karmi says:

Of course it’s a ridiculous concept, that the only action to take is a policy out on Dad’s life!
But that isn’t what’s on my mind about this commercial.

The oldest actress reminds me of a tv actress from the 1960s and 1970s. Is there a way to find out who she is? She has blondish hair in the commercial, but the actress I’m thinking of had dark hair when she acted in tv movies or guest starred in series in the 1960s.
I wish I could think of which movies she was in, but she was never very famous, just seen a lot. She is about the right age to be this actress. Is there an information souce on the oldest actress’s name?

sorry if this is off-topic, but I have to know…

October 14, 2013 at 11:51 am
(6) Donna says:

I hate this commercial. The daughters look like vultures just waiting for the parents to get life insurance. “Have you and Dad ever thought about getting, well, Life insurance?” I wish the Mom would say, “Why are you going to push us off the roof?”

October 21, 2013 at 11:48 am
(7) Pamm Pommer says:

I’ve been heavily involved with “senior care” issues for over 20 years … first with my grandparents (although more as a backup to mom and dad) and then my parents. My sister and I were advocates of getting the help they needed and moving to a senior community where they could live more safely and have more social activities without venturing out in traffic and cold weather (I live in Minnesota!)

It never occurred to us to start talking about LIFE insurance! I seriously kept thinking I was missing some other point of the commercial until I Googled the commercial and found Mark’s article. I also read the other comments, including the people who called MetLife and was basically hung up on when he expressed his displeasure with the commercial. I guess this is when we VOTE with our pocketbooks!

October 23, 2013 at 12:18 pm
(8) R Horan says:

Since the non-caring have been made, I’ll address the additional stupidity: the father is shown wearing a sling so he’s obviously been to the doctor and is home again. That takes hours. So, why does the daughter enter the house yelling like there’s overwhelming urgency? Then, after the mention of final expense insurance by her sister, she says that she has heard of it. Five seconds later she is a veritable fountain of knowledge about the product, and an obvious busybody too.

October 29, 2013 at 5:28 pm
(9) Helen says:

I hate this commercial! It tells me there are two selfish daughters that care nothing for their parents and all they’re interested is getting some money once their parents die.

November 16, 2013 at 2:50 pm
(10) Carole809 says:

I hate the ad also — I was looking for a corporate number to call and comment — the daughters’ reactions were horrible and actually did not even make sense –

November 19, 2013 at 4:46 pm
(11) sandy says:

It’s funny, I just said the same thing on Facebook after seeing that commercial AGAIN. Those girls are almost smiling, rubbing their greedy hands together, talking about this policy. They mention nothing about getting dad help, or maybe suggest moving to a condo. Definately in bad taste.

November 21, 2013 at 10:00 am
(12) C. Arroyo says:

I just wanted to add that this commercial must have been the first role the youngest daughter has ever played lol

November 25, 2013 at 7:06 pm
(13) robert knapp says:

The oldest daughter telling her mother she needs the protection come across as down right tacky. And worried more about herself benefitting from her parents mishaps and possible death. If I was in that same situation and passed away I certainly wouldn’t need protection from anything. After all I’m already dead. The only one that would benefit from this would be the beneficiary. If my kids made a comment like that I would call them gold diggers.

November 27, 2013 at 4:01 pm
(14) jdawg says:

The younger daughter is super cute, though.

December 3, 2013 at 1:50 pm
(15) John Abraham says:

Those parents didn’t seem to be poor. You would think one of them would have had some sort of life insurance for many years prior to his hurting his shoulder. According to the mother he’s done this before. Why is it all of a sudden real important now and not before? I know things have changed in this country but someone probably paid for his getting his shoulder fixed this time and the previous injuries from the prior incidents.

December 9, 2013 at 7:56 pm
(16) PiedType says:

I wrote about this ad on my own blog. “Incensed” would be an understatement, since I’m about the age of the parents in the ad. If my son ever approached me like this and told me how much I “needed” this life insurance, I’d instantly write him out of my will!

December 10, 2013 at 4:25 pm
(17) Ginger says:

I’ve been a marketing specialist for over 30 years and yes, this is the absolute worst ad I’ve ever seen. In addition to all the other comments I’ve read, they make the poor Mother look like she herself is death warmed over. These days, people in their sixties look pretty darn good. They could have least put some make up on her and give her a little dignity. Also, where does “final expense” fit ? My God, he hurt his shoulder – not like he was in ICU! Besides, medicare would take care of a hurt shoulder. The daughters make it sound like Dad’s such a dumba** and don’t expect us to help bury him. Simply shameful ad. I will never consider Metlife-no matter what. One more thing, the younger daughter tries to sound like a 16 year old know it all. Metlife you rate high in poor taste and make older folks look foolish.

December 11, 2013 at 10:23 am
(18) jack s. says:

Hey i am glad others feel the way i do. First the daughters come off as looking for a payout in case poor old Dad kicks the bucket. Then that younger daughter with that insolent expression i just want to smack the crap out of her.Even their use of Peanuts theme music is pretty obnoxious.

December 11, 2013 at 10:36 am
(19) Russo Lewis says:

This Metlife piece is an unfettered invitation to greed that belongs in either an SNL sketch or a motivational theme for the death of a parent and an insurance pay out on Law And Order engineered by the daughters and exposed by NYPD SVU detective Mariska Hargitay . I was shocked when I first saw it, now I just laugh at it. “Gee Mom, Dad got hurt? Great! Quick, get insurance on his life, now, right away, like, hurry Mom. Go to the phone. Geez, Mom, you are so stupid!”

December 12, 2013 at 12:35 pm
(20) mike says:

Gee mom i know your on a budget but take a little less for you and dad each month so we aren’t burdened by your deaths. Good stuff!

December 19, 2013 at 10:25 am
(21) Lee says:

People, it is a commercial…designed to grab your attention, which it apparently does. All MetLife wants you to do is remember them and from the responses, it certainly does that…what about the AT&T commercials showing how stupid kids in this country are?

January 3, 2014 at 10:12 am
(22) Charles says:

Doesn’t the youngest daughter seem about 50 years younger than the Mom and Dad?

January 14, 2014 at 12:36 pm
(23) Rick St-Peter says:

So idiotic it is hilarious. The first time I watched it was like: ‘Mom, you know dad is so stupid and accident prone that he is going to kill himself soon. You need protection’. Unbelievable. I laughed so hard! How do you look at that finished product [commercial] and say, “Looks great. Let’s put it out there”??? I love it. Definitely should go on the all-time worst list for sure. lol

January 15, 2014 at 12:10 pm
(24) Lisa says:

My first reaction is “how greedy can you be”. The daughters’ are smiling and almost make the viewer feel as if they are intimating that the mother and father are idiots for not taking life insurance out on each other. Very poor taste indeed

January 16, 2014 at 8:14 pm
(25) Liz Weeks says:

I got to this webpage by googling “does anyone else have a problem with that met life commercial?”

I can’t believe the piece made it through the professional creative process. Even the looks the daughters give each other and their mom say “we don’t wanna pay for your coffins when you croak so you better take care of this.”

The tagline should say “Policies for Shallow People Who Don’t Want to Find Themselves in Shallow Graves Because Their Children are Self-centered Spoiled Brats.”

January 22, 2014 at 6:57 pm
(26) frances says:

Have you seen?? They’ve RESHOT this mess!!

January 27, 2014 at 4:16 am
(27) jw says:

2 things shock me here

1) that about.com is still around

2) that people get mad over a commercial

I don’t know which one is sadder

January 27, 2014 at 11:58 am
(28) financecareers says:

JW,

Even more surprising still is that (1) someone purportedly so uninterested in this topic should be searching and reading about it, and (2) someone so web-savvy as to find About.com would not know that we’re still going strong. With over 87 million visitors in a typical month, we must be doing something right.

Besides, if people find a commercial to be objectionable, shouldn’t they object? If you side with MetLife and think that this commercial is in good taste and unproblematic, just say so. You’re entitled to your opinion.

January 30, 2014 at 10:44 pm
(29) Alice Johnson says:

Shame on Met Life. Dad almost falls off his ladder and the daughters are only concerned that the parents have thought about their final expenses. How about “Are you o.k.Dad”. This Is about the stupidest commercial I have ever seen. Get another ad company Met Life, with some ideas on selling life insurance that make sense, and that exhibits some concern for ones elderly parents.

January 31, 2014 at 3:06 pm
(30) JEM in Jersey says:

The shallowness of the daughters is incredible. They rush over – we assume to see if Dad is ok – but actually to let their mother know that they don’t want to be saddled with contributing to their parents final expenses. Changing the ad to Final Expenses doesn’t make it any less offensive. “Mom, I really need you to add an expense to your budget so that I don’t have to be out of pocket when you die”. Really? I would cut my daughter out of my will that very day.

January 31, 2014 at 4:58 pm
(31) R Allen says:

Will SOMEBODY PLEASE get this horrible commercial off the air?!! It is demeaning and degrading to all older citizens, not to mention showing the absolute greed of the 2 supposedly concerned daughters. Mom is too stupid to fill out a form and Dad might die next time he falls, so let’s make sure we get your house, your savings and all other investments….but you need to get this insurance, so we don’t have to spend any of our inheritance to put you in the ground! Says a lot about today’s “caring children” that someone at the ad agency even came up with this idea…and WORSE…that Metlife approved it as a good idea! Disgusting.

January 31, 2014 at 7:06 pm
(32) Really Annoyed says:

Good grief ! Yet ANOTHER commercial portraying older people as incompetent.

When that younger woman (I initially thought she was the granddaughter) chimes in – LOUDLY – with “I’ve heard of that !!” MetLife is conveying that the young twit just has to be listened to because she’s young. They all look at her with looks of gratitude on their faces because SHE has heard of it. Oh, and the final “Let’s make the call together” … sending the message that the grandparents are incapable of calling.

And since when does a slip mean “final expense” insurance is needed? On the bright side, at least I know what company not to do business with.

February 1, 2014 at 10:43 am
(33) old geezer says:

When my wife and I first saw this commercial I asked her if that was written by our oldest daughter.

My youngest daughter’s mouth would hit the floor if she heard her sister say that. Then she would demand that I stay off of ladders and tell me to call her first and she would do it for me.

I just wish I could be around to see the look on my oldest ones face when she finds out who is the main beneficiary of our estate.

February 4, 2014 at 1:04 pm
(34) Commercial Hater says:

Worst commercial ever with the worst acting ever! “I’ve heard of this… I’ve also heard you can’t be turned down for health reason!” Pure stupidity by MetLife…

February 4, 2014 at 7:19 pm
(35) Kristine E says:

Stupidest commercial, obviously – but seriously – how MANY TIMES can they show it in a day….and that’s the least of the issues. Yeah, yeah, they make the mom look idiotic “applying for insurance can be so difficult” – oh sure, especially term life. The line that really pisses me off is “he hurt his shoulder but thank goodness he’s alright.” Uh, NO, he’s NOT okay, he’s obviously HURT. Maybe by meaning “thank goodness he’s alright”, they mean thank goodness he didn’t CROAK before we bought some life insurance on him. As far as greed from the daughters, there probably wouldn’t be much insurance anyway (due to parents age, health issues etc.). All spouse needs is enough to cover the funeral and some bills. If the kids are truly “concerned” they will pay the premiums, then they won’t have to worry about getting stuck with the expense. In the time I’ve been typing this the ad has played at least 2 more times – every time I hear “MOM”, I react with an “AHHHHH!”

February 5, 2014 at 4:46 pm
(36) gary introne says:

Ridiculous, overwrought and overplayed commercial, replete with nonsense and bad pathos. My question now is, having just yesterday starting to see a revision – why did they change it? What happened to the younger daughter? Why has she been snipped and some of her lines taken over by bigger Sis?

February 6, 2014 at 12:33 pm
(37) Jennifer says:

I just saw the new version of the commercial without the annoying younger daughter. I quickly Goggled this commercial and found this article. It’s funny, I never paid any attention to the commercial so I never realized how bad it really was (emphasizing life insurance rather than getting Dad some help around the house) . I just couldn’t get over how rude and condescending the younger daughter was. I would never talk to my parents that way!

February 6, 2014 at 3:40 pm
(38) RJ says:

I too get a negative vibe from this ad; the money grubbing daughters are talking about death insurance like it was nothing; could care less about the old man; what did metlife change? I just saw the exact same commercial minus the brunette daughter but has the dark haired one saying the same lines that the brunette said; “I’ve heard of this, my friend sarah” geeze, if you are going to change the ad and dump one chick, CHANGE THE AD………..any way, think it all sucks, had metlife when I relocated from another state; way over priced; cannot beat AAA even over USAA of which I am a member.

February 7, 2014 at 5:38 pm
(39) AWL says:

One of the more bizarre aspects of this commercial was the use of “Lucy and Linus” -the Peanuts theme song. Weird that they use such an upbeat song for such a morbid topic

February 9, 2014 at 3:47 am
(40) Aircav37 says:

Horrible commercial. Younger daughter is hot though.

February 12, 2014 at 4:08 pm
(41) Joan says:

Thank you for your article. The first time I saw the original ad I wanted to write MetLife and tell them what I thought about it. It depicted seniors as being feeble minded and completely incapable of making their own decisions. At least the second ad has corrected that aspect of the original one. I am a 72 year old senior with three adult children, but I continue to make all of my own decisions about home repairs, insurances, purchase of vehicles, and when and when not to get in/out of the market, among other things. And they all treat me as though I was perfectly capable of all of the above. Yes . . . the ad was demeaning to seniors. Sure, there are those of us that have problems, but please, don’t assume that because we are beyond a certain age that we have all lost our minds!

February 13, 2014 at 2:38 pm
(42) Xyberion1K3 says:

I am so sick of the MetLife commercials. They have done 3 versions of the same commercial. It just went off again, the one with the older sister knowing her lines without the huge pauses; it does not have the younger sister in it. MetLife, please come up with some new commercials, with different people.

February 13, 2014 at 3:24 pm
(43) Moe says:

Thank you to all of the above that left comments. I honestly have not laughed so much in a long while. The blatant greed in the commercial made me laugh due to the ridiculousness of it being a sales pitch. Irony can be funny. Of course, I didn’t like them making the parents seem helpless in terms of help or intelligence but the looks on the daughters faces were priceless. I didn’t note in any of the above comments anyone pointing out that the daughters seemed to be in cahoots through an earlier conversation. It’s the younger daughters’ smirk while saying, “I’ve heard of that” that really makes it look like the girls met for coffee and a quick rehearsal before their opening act in front of mom and dad. They even seem to have non verbal communication going on between them.

MetLife probably decided to trade morals, ethics and goodwill over branding their corporate name into our subconscious.

February 13, 2014 at 10:12 pm
(44) Mark says:

It’s obviously their step-father !

February 15, 2014 at 12:38 pm
(45) Steve says:

If you don’t like the ad then don’t watch it. I agree it’s a bad ad, but don’t watch it.

February 23, 2014 at 1:47 am
(46) financecareers says:

Steve,

That’s a curious comment. If people are watching TV in real time and this ad comes up, what are you proposing? Leave the room? Hit the mute button and close your eyes? Change the channel? On the other hand, I’m sure that people watching programs recorded earlier by them are fast forwarding through the ads anyway.

February 15, 2014 at 3:41 pm
(47) Rosemarie says:

I agree this commercial gives a “what were they thinking” reaction. I want to know about the team that came up with this campaign.

February 17, 2014 at 11:45 am
(48) morgan says:

This commercial reminds me of a 60′s sit com. Here we have ol dumb ass Dad who’s just fallen off the ladder cleaning the gutters because he’s stupid and can’t get out of his own way fast enough….. and if it wasn’t for his wife and daughters (because females are always smarter than males) Dad would have probably ‘offed’ himself years before, being the moron that he is.

Well if Mom and Daughters are so concerned about Dad, the hell with the life insurance. Have them get their fat rear ends up on a ladder and clean the gutters ,and let Dad relax inside with a beer. And of course lets not overlook another subliminal Met Life pitch…… Dad’s arm sling is blue and white…the corporate colors of Met Life. My how subtle ?

February 19, 2014 at 5:43 pm
(49) DLaws says:

I thought I was the only person who got a negative vibe from the tone of this commercial. I felt it was, indeed, like an old sitcom in which the father is made to appear foolish, and the attitude of the daughters was so inappropriate and disrespectful, even in the recut version. I realize it is only a commercial, but they seemed to be taking the matter so lightly – and the quantum leap from a slip to a need to cover funeral expenses was a bit much. Thanks for allowing me to comment.

February 20, 2014 at 12:20 pm
(50) Randi says:

I am glad others dislike this commercial. To me the daughters are very cold and unfeeling treating their parents that way.

February 22, 2014 at 10:39 am
(51) MrsJ says:

After being annoyed by this commercial for the millionth time,I decided to see if I was the only one. Happily not. This ad irks me and something about the younger daughter bugs me! I hate how the dad seems like an idiot and the mom too simple not to know about life insurance.

February 25, 2014 at 3:57 pm
(52) keith says:

I never really paid attention to the storyline Because the younger daughter is so hot I just can’t get over watching her she is the most beautiful girl I will watch the commercial over and over and over again just to see her

February 26, 2014 at 10:31 am
(53) AngelHart says:

It’s good to know I wasn’t the only one who hated the commercial. I had just saw they had changed it and wondered of it was because others thought the same. I hated how manipulative it was, trying to make older parents feel guilty about dying and how much money will be involved. I’m all for taking care and planning ahead but this had such a manipulative tone to it.

February 28, 2014 at 2:22 am
(54) I broke a toe so I'll probably die soon says:

This commercial is the worst. MetLife should never ever be used by anyone because of this commercial.

Here’s what it says:

- anyone over 60 is totally incompetent
- the most important thing is funeral expenses
- if you are 60 and injure yourselves, you’ll be dead in a month
- daughters are evil

March 3, 2014 at 12:13 pm
(55) mallory says:

I think they just redid the ad, again. In fact, one sister has been removed and now the Father is doing more talking and says he would feel better knowing that life insurance is there for his wife.

I don’t know why MetLife thinks this ad is worth holding on to at all. I agree with everyone that feels the suggestion of life insurance after a fall from a ladder is totally horrific and provokes the audience into thinking there is a bit of gold digging here.

Get a new ad agency and change the message completely.

In this case, the publicity and comments are not working for your company at all!

March 30, 2014 at 4:40 pm
(56) Heidi says:

Bad commercial–All the daughters seem to care about is getting money when old Dad kicks the bucket. I mean, thank god he didn’t get killed falling off that ladder before they got the policy. They’d have been screwed! (And maybe sad that Dad is gone, but they don’t seem overly concerned about him.) The newer ads are much better, where the older person is initiating the purchase.

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