Ad Nut
Nov 23, 2020

Protecting your stuff isn't a game, a new game proves

NRMA Insurance and CHE Proximity created 'Help', a board game that underscores—you might be able to guess—the need for insurance. Our pal Ad Nut gave it a try.

Protecting your stuff isn't a game, a new game proves

It's not often that Ad Nut gets to directly experience the ads Ad Nut writes about. But this changed over the weekend when Ad Nut gathered the family to try out Help, a board game developed by NRMA Insurance and CHE Proximity.

The game is on sale for AU$25 (US$18.30) at Kmart stores and at helpthegame.com.au, with some of the proceeds going to disaster relief and recovery via NRMA Insurance’s partner, Australian Red Cross.

Unsuprisingly, the aim of the game is to protect your home, car and other stuff from destruction and loss. Protection comes in the form of plastic domes that you buy to literally cover your possessions. Destruction arrives in a great many forms—both via specific squares on the game board (Earthquake! Bushfire!) and via 'Disaster' and 'Life Change' cards you have to draw as you go. For example, you might pick a card that informs you that you tried to drive your car through a flood. If you don't have a dome/shield protecting your car, you lose the car. If you do have it 'covered', you only lose the dome, which you then have to spend money to replace (like paying a premium, Ad Nut supposes). You get paydays and opportunities to shop for more stuff as you go as well.

If you lose your home at any time, you're out. Other than that, there's no real end to the game: You just decide to stop at some point, and whoever has the most assets wins. Having once been involved in a game of Risk that stretched to seven hours, the family of Ad Nut really appreciated this ability to control the duration of the game. (Risk, by the way, is entirely too realistic. All of Ad Nut's family members became exactly like grim generals during that endless war: callously condemning legions of soldiers to die in bloody, protracted battles to gain miniscule amounts of territory, yet unwilling to surrender or call a truce because of the sunk-costs fallacy. The game is either the worst game ever invented or a brilliant piece of anti-war propaganda.) 

Sorry, Ad Nut digresses. 

Ad Nut and the rest of the Nuts whiled away a pleasant hour playing Help, with the creative cards providing laughs even as they subjected the players to capricious fates.

The game is physically well-made, and the concept is well constructed for its purpose of creating demand for insurance. In fact, the only complaint Ad Nut (and the spouse and offspring of Ad Nut) had was that the game was perhaps a little too good at making one feel the threat of loss. Shopping opportunities and windfalls (some of the 'Life Change' cards carry good news) were much less frequent than bad-luck events. The players actually found it hard to acquire much new stuff, such as boats or businesses, because they were constantly losing and then replacing their home domes to prevent being kicked out of the game. Because of this, many of the cards ended up referring to the loss of items that the players hadn't actually acquired yet. If Ad Nut and the rest of the Nuts play again, more goods will be dispersed as part of the initial conditions.   

Overall, the game was like a more entertaining version of The Game of Life, with more amusing incidents, but blessedly free of annoying tiny pieces and paper money, both of which drive Ad Nut...nuts. Only time will tell whether the game gets pulled out of the cupboard again.

Of course, making a successful game is not really the end game for NRMA and CHE Proximity. The partners made 30,000 copies of Help. So far the game seems to have received just a smattering of coverage in insurance-industry and marketing outlets. Ad Nut commends the duo for an inventive marketing strategy and would like to hear later whether it really paid off. 

CREDITS

IAG
Brent Smart, CMO
Zara Curtis, Director of Content & Customer Engagement
Sally Kiernan, Director, Brand
Caroline Hugall, Group Brand Strategy Director
Luke Farrell, Director of Marketing Operations
Mahsa Merat, Creative & Innovation Specialist
Anna Jackson, Brand Strategy Lead
Sam McGown, Creative & Innovation Lead
& all of IAG Marketing Team

CHE Proximity
Ant White, Chief Creative Officer
Wesley Hawes Executive Creative Director - Syd
Ashley Wilding, Creative Director
Daniel Davison, Creative Director
Nico Smith, Senior Art Director
Mark Carbone, Senior Copywriter
Zac Pritchard, Senior Copywriter
Holly Alexander, Director, Strategic Production
Darren Cole, Head of Design
Reece Lawson, Digital Design Lead
Michael McGregor, Designer
David Halter, Chief Strategy Officer
Nick Andrews, Head of Strategy
Olivier Boulbain, Senior Technology Project Manager

Chris Howatson, Group CEO
Shane Holmes, Group Account Director
Tyson Mahon, Senior Account Director
Charles Todhunter, Senior Account Manager

Production Credits Collider
Murray Bell, Experience Director
Andrew van der Westhuyzen, Creative Director
Hugh Carrick-Allan, Technical Director
Mitch Brown, Senior Designer
Naomi Illand, Head of Studio Production
Rachael Ford-Davies, Managing Director
Brendan Keogh, Game Consultant
Julian Frost, Jacky Winter Character Concept Illustrations
Special T Card and Booklet Production
Ted Esdaile-Watts, Principal Tech Creators Character, Object & Dome Manufacturing

Film Production Heckler
Heckler Film Production & Post
Simon Rippingale Director
Benja Harney Paper Engineer
Bonnie Law Executive Producer
Johnny Greally Producer
Simon Higgins Director of Photography
VFX Supervisor Jamie Watson
Senior Editor Andrew Holmes
Colourist Olivier Fontenay
Brad Smith Senior Flame Artist
Rumble Music Sound Design, Audio Production

Mindshare Media Agency

Thinkerbell PR & Earned

Ad Nut is a surprisingly literate woodland creature that for unknown reasons has an unhealthy obsession with advertising. Ad Nut gathers ads from all over Asia and the world for your viewing pleasure, because Ad Nut loves you. You can also check out Ad Nut's Advertising Hall of Fame, or read about Ad Nut's strange obsession with 'murderous beasts'.

 

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