Shaking up life insurance

Life Insurance. But not as we know it.

Most insurers dance around the subject of death. DeadHappy puts it up front: This is life insurance. It kicks in when you die.

The DeadHappy team first noticed Arch when they saw the website for Caddyshackers. The irreverent design and copy matched the insurance company’s style, so they approached us with a question they needed answering: how do you make life insurance relevant for twenty-somethings and break down the taboos associated with death?

a dead happy logo concept
The Dead Happy mascot with a blue cane

The man in the mask

Our brief was to develop Skull Man. Brand mascots everywhere, from the Compare the Market Meerkats to Captain Obvious. When they’re done correctly they can unify a target market – giving a brand’s audience an avatar to connect with in place of the brand itself.

Skull Man would represent the attitudes and nature of the twenty-something audience, whilst serving the dual purpose of breaking down the death taboo with outrageous humour. Skull Man is a genuine brand asset – one that could rival classic brand personifications like Tony the Tiger or the Andrex puppy. Taking inspiration from the art of LA artist Butch Loscin and figures like Frank Sidebottom, our version of Skull Man was a larger than life embodiment of the devil-may-care attitude and death-acceptance that makes Dead Happy what it is.

the dead happy mascot looking through an old camera

Bringing Skull Man to life

We started with the skull. Joining forces with a talented fiberglass sculptor, we worked out a shape and design for four wearable skull masks and a walking stick complete with a chrome skull on top. Once the mask was finalised, Skull Man fell into place from the neck down. Our extensive research into how Skull Man filtered through, and we crafted a visual based on:

  • A huge, skull-mask head
  • An all white suit (with accessories)
  • Flashes of on-brand colour
  • The use of props

We presented a 3D-render version of Skull Man to DeadHappy, and then took our concept and organised a week-long photoshoot to capture the character. Collaborating with seasoned photographers and designers, we developed a solid sense of who Skull Man is through a series of humorous images. We shot at a large, dedicated local studio, which gave us the scope to supply an almost infinite array of props for our skeletal friend.

A skeleton in a white three-piece suit
a skeleton taking a selfie

Each image set-up was specifically chosen to represent the six key messages/USPs of the Dead Happy brand: Easy, Quick, Helpful, Confident, Logical and Joyful. Each message was allocated a colour and a visual way of showing the USP – usually through the use of props. For example, quick was blue and Skull Man was shown on his scooter.

Our shoot extended into the production of a short video following Skull Man around the streets of Leicester. Bringing the character into a real-world setting proved just what a strange, unique creation he is.

Skull Man became a crucial part of the DeadHappy brand. He was used across social media in ad campaigns on Facebook and Instagram, and features on the brand’s website.

Skull Man brought to life

Our work for Dead Happy included creating the embodiment of their mascot: Skull Man. After we’d developed the look, attitude and personality of the insurer’s skeletal spokesman, we decided to go one further and bring him to life with augmented reality.

Augmented Death

Created in Spark AR, the augmented reality skull can be superimposed onto Dead Happy customers’ faces. The wearable skull mask is accessed through Instagram and Facebook, bringing an extra social aspect to the brand.

Various controls are programmed into the skull filter – allowing users to open the skull mouth, switch from black eye sockets to transparent lenses and view the skull head from any angle.

Dead Happy augmented reality photo filters with skulls on people's faces

Why AR?

There are loads of benefits to creating an AR filter for your brand. Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok all have filter functions, and if you can create a genuinely engaging, interesting add-on which represents your brand, there’s no reason why consumers wouldn’t use it. And, the second they post your AR creation, they’re sharing your brand with anyone who sees their post.

Augmented reality can bring about sector specific upgrades as well. Imagine try-before-you-buy filters in the fashion world (or even for hairdressers). Imagine being able to take pictures with video-game characters (or your company’s mascot). Imagine seeing your front room with new furniture in it before you’ve even seen the furniture in real life. The possibilities are potentially endless.

In this new world of Zoom calls and Google Meets, AR can even create news stories. Why not create a branded backdrop or face filter for your employees to use? The worst that can happen is probably turning them temporarily into a cat.

Do you need help to develop your brand?

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