New PEMCO campaign celebrates our quirky characters

Advertising theme honors the people who make the Northwest a special place



​​​​SEATTLE – Sandals and Socks guy, forget that snooty New York fashionista. Marymoor Off-Leash Dog Lady, let that puppy run for the hills, but clean up after him. And Obsessive-Compulsive Recycler, you're so one of us. You – and you all know who you are – are the reason PEMCO Insurance is rolling out its new ad campaign celebrating our shared Northwest values and quirkiness with the tagline, "We're a Lot Like You. A Little Different."

The campaign made its official debut Monday on dozens of Washington broadcast outlets, billboards, and transit signs. The campaign even has a website, that gives descriptions of more than 20 classic Pacific Northwest archetypes and information on how people can order a T-shirt of their favorite Northwest archetype, or even submit their own Northwest Profile.

The campaign represents the first significant revamp of PEMCO's marketing strategy since the "Rewarding Responsibility" campaign launched in 2001.

A lot of thought and research went into the development of the whimsical new approach, said PEMCO spokesperson Jon Osterberg. "The time is right to have a little fun and honor the people – and that's most of us – who share this corner of the country and make it a wonderful place to live," he said. "But in terms of how PEMCO does business, nothing has changed. We still honor responsibility."

Part of the fun of the campaign, Osterberg said, is that everyone will recognize someone they know. Taken as a whole, the characters embody what we and people across the country view as classic personalities of the Northwest.

Besides the people mentioned above, a few other archetypes appearing early in the campaign will be Ellensburg Bowhunter, Kirkland Cigarette-Boat Dude, Northwest Male Action Figure (who has the toys for every outdoor activity ever conceived), and Smug Hybrid Driver.

But for all of the essential humor of the campaign, Osterberg said, there is a serious reason PEMCO chose to honor these quirky characters in a marketing campaign. "This is a very special place," he said. "The Northwest is PEMCO's home, and our research showed that people here value individuality and uniqueness. We appreciate and celebrate our differences. These are not just customers – they are our neighbors, friends and, more than likely, ourselves."

Osterberg promised more news about opportunities for the public to interact directly with some of the characters in the campaign.

The first television spots started airing Monday on every major television station in Washington state, plus the Discovery, Bravo, and F/X cable channels. The spots will run through the third week of November.

The radio ads are getting heavy airplay on 17 stations in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties; 19 stations across Eastern Washington; and throughout Washington during Mariners baseball broadcasts. And while the current campaign is scheduled through November, PEMCO's commitment to the theme of "We're a Lot Like You. A Little Different" is very much long-term.

"This is about Northwest traits that are common to customers, PEMCO employees, and even our founders, all of whom were local people," said Osterberg. "We'll be working with it – and having fun with it – for a long time."

The year-long research process uncovered some interesting tidbits about Northwest culture – and at the same time reinforced what people intuitively understand about the independent-thinking Northwest mindset. In hundreds of interviews with consumers, PEMCO customers and their own employees, Osterberg said, a handful of consistent themes emerged.

Those shared-values themes are individualism, a strong sense of community, personal authenticity, a sense of humor, thought leadership, and social responsibility. "We understood immediately that these were the same social characteristics that we've tried to express in our approach to business, and that they meshed with how Northwest people approach life," Osterberg said. "We wanted the campaign to reflect that in a humorous way."

The campaign came together through a joint effort of PEMCO's internal marketing department and the Seattle advertising firm DNA Brand Mechanics.

Visitors to the PEMCO Website,, will also find an enhanced site that allows for easier and fast quotes.

About PEMCO Insurance

PEMCO Insurance, established in 1949, is a Seattle-based provider of auto, home, boat, life, and umbrella insurance to Washington state residents. PEMCO Insurance is sold by community agents throughout the state and through PEMCO offices. For more information, visit