I recently embarked on a road trip that took me more than a day’s drive away. These kinds of trips used to be somewhat daunting when you took into consideration the various radio station offerings as you move into the more sparsely populated sections of the country.

To help keep me alert and engaged while I’m driving, I’ve always enjoyed hearing something new and unexpected. In the past, satellite radio has been great for that but I recently discovered an alternative that works almost as well. Pandora. I’m able to set the types of things I want to listen to and make my own “Radio Stations.” I just plug in my iPhone to the car’s sound system, and off I go.

Since I opt for the advertising-supported version of Pandora, I occasionally hear an advertisement. Generally they are short, sweet and to the point.

On this particular trip, I only heard one ad for what seemed like a few times an hour. It was for American Family Insurance. The ads were very short and since I was an attentive audience for the better part of 16 hours, I heard the ad many times. In fact, it was the only ad I heard while listening to Pandora on this trip.

When I realized that I was only hearing a single ad for a single company, I thought that was pretty astonishing. On regular radio, you hear many ads for a variety of products and services. They are doing something a bit different on Pandora.

A few hours into my trip, as I heard the American Family ad again, it made me think that I have also seen ads for American Family Insurance on one of the games I play on my iPhone. These aren’t product-specific ads; they’re more like company branding with the call to action to find out more about what American Family offers. A simple message really, with the potential to stick.

It’s pretty clear that American Family is using the electronic/mobile media format as a way for their brand recognition campaigns to stand out from the clutter. One of the problems any marketer faces is that of getting an effective number of repetitions and in multiple formats for the message to be front and center in the consumer’s mind.

In this case, I think American Family’s strategy is pretty effective. The company was definitely front and center for a while. It even got me to write a blog about it.

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