Aviva protection ad a ratings winner as nine million viewers tune in

Income protection gets a national voice as Downton Abbey returns to the screens

A national television advertising campaign aimed at raising awareness of protection among consumers reached millions of people last night when ITV1 primetime drama Downton Abbey returned to the screens.

More than nine million people tuned in to watch the first instalment of the drama, which featured the first in a series of idents – mini-ads – at the top and tail of the commercial breaks. The Sunday night ratings war saw around double the number of people watch Downton Abbey than the final episode of BBC1 spy drama Spooks.

The idents launched last night, part of Aviva’s ITV Drama Premiere sponsorship package, are designed to promote the importance of income protection to consumers. A second ident will highlight critical illness cover later in the year.

The Aviva campaign is one of the largest public awareness pushes by the protection industry in recent times and comes after efforts to launch a sector-wide non-brand specific consumer awareness push failed. The Consumer Protection Insurance Engagement Campaign, spearheaded by Tom Baigrie, managing director of specialist advisory firm LifeSearch, was aborted after participants failed to agree on a plan of action.

The latest Aviva campaign follows television ads for life and critical illness cover, launched earlier this year, featuring comedian Paul Whitehouse.

Rival insurer Unum is currently also rolling out a consumer awareness campaign. The provider has already launched activity in the Guardian newspaper, while it is expected to launch primetime television advertising within the next few weeks. Both Aviva and Unum’s campaigns are being supported by social media initiatives.

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