Liberty Mutual Emu: The History Behind the Beloved Bird

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LiMu Emu and his human friend Doug, the lovable duo from the Liberty Mutual ads, have been lighting up our screens for over two years.
You are probably familiar with their schtick; Doug touts the benefits of Liberty Mutual’s customized car insurance coverage, while a seemingly oblivious LiMu does, well, emu stuff!
The advertising campaign has been extremely successful, even prompting Liberty Mutual to start selling emu-themed merchandise through their online store.
Read on to learn where the emu came from, and why so many insurance companies use comedic mascots in their advertising.
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What is the story behind LiMu Emu?

Long before LiMu and Doug came along, Liberty Mutual made the decision to market their insurance products as more customized, more relevant to the individual customer, than those being offered by rivals.
The Chief Marketing Officer at Liberty Mutual Insurance, Emily Fink, says "We want to help our customers get the best value out of their insurance policy by customizing their coverage so they have exactly what they need and never overpay."
In 2019, creative agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners took this approach and ran with it. LiMu and Doug are inspired by the classic buddy-cop trope, partners who think it's a crime to pay for coverage you don’t need! They even wear aviator glasses, like the cops on classic TV shows.

Is the LiMu Emu a real emu?

The first commercials were directed by award-winning Australian director, Craig Gillespie, who collaborated with the Mill, a visual effects studio, to bring LiMu Emu to life.
As explained by the Akron Beacon Journal, LiMu is a mix of real emu and CGI. Live birds were used during the initial shoot, and this footage was blended together with a digital rendering of LiMu, to create the final character.

Why do insurance companies have mascots?

You might be wondering why so many insurance companies, like Liberty Mutual, use funny mascots in their advertising. There's the GEICO gecko, Jake from State Farm, Flo from Progressive, and the Aflac Duck, to name but a few.
The answer is pretty simple, these characters resonate with audiences. They enable insurance companies to put a comical spin on an otherwise dull product.
By creating adverts that people actually want to watch, companies reach a much wider audience, heightening brand awareness and ultimately, selling more insurance.
Co-chairman and partner at Goodby Silverstein & Partners, Jeff Goodby, summed it up nicely: "The insurance category is a competitive space, and there is a need to break through to capture people’s attention...LiMu and Doug are fun and memorable."

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While you might love the emu, Liberty Mutual is just one of dozens of car insurance companies competing for your business. So how do you know which will truly provide the best coverage for the lowest price?
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