JUST TO BE SAFE!
September 10, 2012 by JoBe Cerny
When I was in seventh grade, my mother decided it was time for me to get a life insurance policy. And I had to get a job to pay for it. She mentioned something about the Great Depression and financial security that sort of made sense so I got a job cutting grass to pay for the policy. Mr. Molnar was my insurance agent. I always thought he looked like Bert Parks, who hosted the Miss America contest for many years. Even though I was in grade school, he was friendly and nice and talked to me like an adult, and so I agreed to get a job and buy a whole life insurance policy from him. He explained whole life was better than term insurance because whole life built value over the years. Term insurance never built cash value. Since I started paying on my life insurance policy so early in my life, the premium was small, but it paid big dividends and grew in value each year. How big? Two years after my wife and I got married, a bank gave us a loan to buy a condo based on the amount of cash value we had in the policy’s value. So, that began a life-long interest in insurance that eventually led to an involvement in insurance advertising. I have to say that insurance companies have some of the best television advertising these days. Allstate, Progressive, Geico, Aflac, and State Farm all have great campaigns.
But, I’ve had some great successes in the insurance category, too. Thirty-six years ago, I started doing commercials for Farm Bureau Insurance with the Cranfill Advertising Agency in Indianapolis . . . and I still do business with the Cranfill family today! We have really had a great relationship over the years. I have worked with three generations of the Cranfill family. The first commercial I did for Dave Cranfill was on-camera as a new father in an Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance commercial. It was so long ago I still had a full head of hair! The Indiana Farm Bureau commercials were always fun and funny. Dave and I always had a great time working together. Dave knew I was a writer, and I asked him to read one of my film scripts which I set in Carmel, Indiana, and that led to him giving me my first opportunity to write television commercials. Farm Bureau liked to do humorous commercials, and I liked to get laughs so it was a match made in heaven. And the best news was Indiana Farm Bureau wanted new television and radio commercials every couple of months. The production quality of the commercials was really excellent, and the campaigns were successful at selling insurance, so we kept making more and more commercials. Then the Cranfill Agency got other State Farm Bureau accounts, and I started to write television and radio commercials for Alabama Farm Bureau Insurance and Country Companies. All in all, I wrote hundreds of radio and television insurance commercials.
Each campaign was different, and they were all situational and comedic. It was an opportunity I will always be grateful for. The commercials were always friendly spirited, and viewers really looked forward to new commercials every few months. We never seemed to wear out our welcome. Once I opened my studios, we began to do radio commercial production for the Cranfill Agency, too. The Agency has changed its name to The 360 Group, but we continue working with Kevin Cranfill to this day. So, my Mother convincing me to buy insurance early in my life proved to be a good thing. Writing and acting in insurance commercials proved to be one of my biggest categories of work over the years. Take it from me, insurance is always a safe investment! And I met some of the nicest people along the way!