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American Family Insurance, Elite Media earn marketing honors at ANA Multicultural Excellence Awards

Marketing efforts reflect American Family’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and social justice


The Association of National Advertisers awarded American Family Insurance and its multicultural agency Elite Media three prizes at the organization’s 20th Annual Multicultural Excellence Awards. 

The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) awarded American Family Insurance and its multicultural agency Elite Media three prizes at the organization’s 20th Annual Multicultural Excellence Awards. The pair were honored in the “African American” and “Experiential” categories for their work, “TIME’s The March, Made Possible by American Family Insurance.” They also won in the “Total Market” category for their commercial, “Training Ground Policy.” 

In a virtual ceremony on December 16, American Family Insurance and Elite won the Grand Prize in the “African American” category for a supporting event and video content that saluted and raised awareness of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic speech at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, based on “The March,” a virtual reality (VR) installation. American Family and Elite created an immersive educational experience that extended the VR exhibit, giving local Chicago students early access to the VR technology and creating content to further extend its reach. American Family supported TIME and the King Estate to replicate Dr. King’s likeness, speech, and the hundreds of thousands of people who marched with him using groundbreaking technology. Mindshare, American Family’s media agency, helped broker the partnership with TIME.

“We wanted to help protect and preserve Dr. King’s legacy. It’s important for us to educate the next generation of dreamers about Dr. King’s fearlessness in order to inspire them to pursue their own dreams of changing the world,” said Sherina Smith, American Family vice president of marketing. “Our goal was to use innovation and technology to help Americans better understand the collective history of peaceful protests and activism in the fight for equality … to demonstrate that fearless dreamers change the world.”

American Family and Elite also won in the “Total Market” category for ‘“Training Ground Policy,” a spot created as part of American Family’s “Keep People Fearless” campaign, meant to drive awareness and consideration of the company’s range of insurance products. The company’s tagline “Insure Carefully, Dream Fearlessly” is leveraged throughout the work. “The campaign is part of our ongoing commitment to using our marketing efforts to keep consumers fearlessly moving towards their dreams,” Smith said.

“Training Ground Policy” is about a young African American girl who dreams of breaking barriers by leading her rowing team to victory in a sport in which black women are highly underrepresented.

Smith said it is important for American Family’s customers to see themselves represented, which is why the company developed a spot incorporating African American casting and insights to lead their marketing efforts.

Telisa Yancy, American Family chief operating officer, also noted American Family is a purpose-led, customer-driven insurance company, and its commitment to diversity, inclusion and social justice goes beyond advertising.

“It’s paramount for our organization to deliberately align our business practices so we close equity gaps and continue the fight for social justice,” Yancy said. “We do that internally by including diversity, equity and inclusion into our corporate strategy. It is also demonstrated when we make decisions to provide more than $500 million back to our customers through premium relief during the pandemic. Our customers and communities are better served when dreams are not only inspired, but also fulfilled. We are honored to receive this recognition and will continue to invest in expanding equity and social justice. This is what our customers and consumers have come to expect from leading, impactful companies.”

Christopher Crawford, the founder and chief creative officer at Elite, credited American Family Insurance, saying, “‘Dream Fearlessly’ is more than a tagline; it is a call to action that permeates every facet of their business. American Family Insurance is convinced that they can change the world and they are taking the steps to do so. We are excited to serve a partner with such a strong commitment to inspiring, protecting and supporting dreamers.”

The ANA Multicultural Excellence Awards celebrate the year's best multicultural advertising campaigns. This year, they received a record number of submissions, the largest in their 20-year history. The awards raise awareness of and provide exposure for the outstanding work being done in the areas of African American, Asian, Hispanic, LGBTQ+, People with Disabilities, Socially Responsible and Total Market Advertising, as well as highlighting marketing strategies that utilized specific media categories, such as Audio, Digital/Social/Mobile, Print and Experiential Marketing.


About the American Family Insurance group
Based in Madison, Wisconsin, American Family Insurance has been serving customers since 1927. We inspire, protect and restore dreams through our insurance products, exceptional service from our agency owners and employees, community investment and creative partnerships to address societal challenges. We act on our belief in diversity and inclusion by constantly evolving to meet customer needs and preferences. American Family Insurance group is the nation’s 13th-largest property/casualty insurance group, ranking No. 254 on the Fortune 500 list. The group sells American Family-brand products, primarily through exclusive agency owners in 19 states. The American Family Insurance group also includes CONNECT, powered by American Family Insurance, The General, Homesite and Main Street America. Across these companies the group has more than 13,500 employees nationwide.

About Elite
Elite Media is an award-winning, minority-owned, independent creative agency based in Harlem, New York. Elite specializes in creating and promoting empowering products, platforms and content. This truth is reflected in the narratives they tell, the causes they champion, and the dreamers and doers they choose to partner with.

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About the ANA
The mission of the ANA (Association of National Advertisers) is to drive growth for marketing professionals, for brands and businesses, and for the industry. Growth is foundational for all participants in the ecosystem. The ANA seeks to align those interests by leveraging the 12-point ANA Masters Circle agenda, which has been endorsed and embraced by the ANA Board of Directors and the Global CMO Growth Council. The ANA's membership consists of more than 1,600 domestic and international companies, including more than 1,000 client-side marketers and nonprofit fundraisers and 600 marketing solutions providers (data science and technology companies, ad agencies, publishers, media companies, suppliers, and vendors). Collectively, ANA member companies represent 20,000 brands, engage 50,000 industry professionals, and invest more than $400 billion in marketing and advertising annually.