Norris ‘talks shop’ in new Alfa commercials

Published 3:00 am Friday, January 1, 2016

Trojan David Norris was right at home in a Birmingham coffee shop. And, he was rather comfortable with the cameras rolling as he sat and talked “shop.”

But Norris wasn’t talking about the trend of young adults from sodas to coffee. He was talking about insurance and the need for the security it provides for people of all ages.

Norris, who is from Troy, is an Alfa Insurance agent in Ozark. At age 22, he is one of Alfa’s youngest agents. Norris’ age and his commitment to his customers were the reasons he was selected to be featured in an upcoming Alfa Insurance television commercial.

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Jeff Helms, ALFA communications director, said Alfa’s testimonial spots featuring customers were successful in highlighting the distinct hometown relationship between Alfa agents and their customers. And, also successful were the television spots in which agents related their personal stories.

In surveying its customer based, Helms said Alfa’s customer based was changing and there was a need for the company to find a way to relate to this younger base.

Although, their parents have insurance, the younger generation may not be aware of the need for insurance and of its benefits. “This younger generation could best be reached by agents who interact with them at PTA meetings, at church, at the ball field,” Helms said. “Alfa has a number of younger agents, who can best relate to their peers. So, a decision was made to make commercials that would place our younger agents in real life situations – with family and friends and at places where they would normally be — not in a sterile office settings, but in real-life places.”

To find the agents for the commercials, Alfa polled its young agents who had been with the company for a while and asked them, “What’s your life story?”

“They talked about memorable experiences and they all had great stories but we narrowed the number down to 15 and sent a small production crew out to interview the agents in their communities,” Helms said. “We filmed David at the stadium in Ozark and talked with him about running in 5Ks and about the service he provides to his customers.”

Six agents from Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi were selected for the full-blown TV productions. David Norris was among them.

“We were impressed by David’s genuineness,” Helms said. “His sincerity came through. He had a great story to tell and the camera liked him.”

Norris laughing said that the Alfa shoot was not his first time in front of the camera.

“I got to be on a commercial for Alabama Power when I was 19 years old, so I got all the nervousness out back then,” he said. “So, when I got to Birmingham, I kind of knew what to expect.”

Alfa chose Birmingham for the setting for the TV commercials with one day designated for each of the six agents.

The Red Cat Coffee House was the setting for Norris’ commercial because it’s the kind of place where single people his age tend to hang out with friends, Helms said.

“These young people communicate by cell phone. They text. It’s just the way they communicate.”

The idea for the commercial was for Norris to be at the coffee house with friends when he gets a text that a customer has been involved in a minor accident and has a fender-bender.

Norris was to walk outside the coffee house to talk with his customer as a way of illustrating how available an Alfa agent would be even when out with friends.

“The atmosphere that had been created felt like a group of college students sitting around drinking coffee and talking about exams,” Norris said. “I had a script of sorts but I was told to put it into my own words. That was easy for me because I believe in what I’m doing and I’m committed to my customers.

“I sell insurance based on the customer’s needs. I want my customers to know they can trust me. I don’t pressure my customers. I want them to get the insurance they need and what they can handle. I sell needs-based insurance to people in my community. I care about my customers and it’s important to me that I’m not only their insurance agent but also a trusted friend.”

The Alfa commercials featuring its younger agents will be televised during the New Year.