A Small Insurer’s Big Leap Into Branded Entertainment

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Who said the little guys lack imagination and moxie? Hiscox insurance services target small businesses — direct, online, and in real-time. But how to get that message out and stand out from the crowd? Scripted web video programming — with a sense of humor, and some heavy-hitting talent.

This summer the brand is launching season two of original “entrepreneurial comedy series” Leap Year, the story of five friends who lose their jobs, follow their dreams and start their own business.[more]

Producing an original web series is turning out to be a savvy way to market the brand’s direct and online small business insurance services.

In Season 1 the friends each started their own business, then founded a company together and won $500,000 in a mysterious contest. Season 2 follows the friends as they strive to succeed in their new business and stave-off aggressive competitors.

Guest appearances include actors Eliza Dushku (Dollhouse, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Josh Malina (The West Wing), as well as cameos by well-known entrepreneurs including Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian.

New episodes debut Mondays through August 20 and can be viewed on Hulu, YouTube and the Leap Year website. Leap Year garnered close to 180,000 views its first week and “moved the needle” on Twitter and Facebook, while maintaining social buzz via GetGlue, Instagram and Pinterest.

Its inaugural season last year drew more than 5 million organic views and attracted thousands of followers, with more than two-thirds self-identifying as entrepreneurs/small business owners. The series has won four Telly awards and the Banff World Media 2012 festival award for Best Branded Entertainment.

In addition, Hiscox has created a series of videos from well-known start-up “stars,” called My StartUp Story, including the founders of Klout, Mashable founder Pete Cashmore, and Tumblr’s David Karp.

How to top all that? Stay tuned.

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