CSAA Insurance Hero Illustration

CSAA Insurance Group, a AAA insurer

Pulling off the ultimate Rickroll

Discover how we harnessed one of the world’s most shareable memes, Rickrolling, to spotlight InsurAAAnce and reach millions of customers. Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” is a beloved ’80s song that also encapsulates InsurAAAnce’s values: dedication, reliability, and trust. 

InsurAAAnce & Rick Astley Never Gonna Give You Up

Have you ever been Rickrolled? If so, you’re familiar with the viral meme that tricks users into watching Rick Astley’s popular ’80s hit “Never Gonna Give You Up” as a light-hearted bait-and-switch prank. Deloitte Digital, in collaboration with CSAA Insurance Group, tapped into the popularity of the viral internet meme for their latest campaign—The Ultimate Rickroll.


Home and auto insurance advertising is dominated by massive brands that rely on a relentless drumbeat of billion-dollar TV buys, spending upwards of $600 million a month. Driving awareness against this massive competition is a Herculean task, when AAA Insurance is outspent 50:1 in media dollars.
So, to break through competitive clutter, Deloitte Digital and AAA Insurance created something so shareable that it could spread far and wide without an outsized media buy. 


Deloitte Digital worked closely with CSAA Insurance Group, Rick Astley himself, and Grammy award-winning director Joseph Kahn to create a digital moment that people couldn’t help but share.
We reshot the artist’s iconic music video frame by frame with an InsurAAAnce twist. We worked with Rick to make sure it maintained the spirit and fun of the original. It resulted in the modern remake the internet never knew it needed: The Ultimate Rickroll. 
Rick Astley music video remake

To get the word out? We Rickrolled our audience.

Strategically placed, well-coiffed, unbranded QR codes and cryptic bit.ly links surprised and delighted unsuspecting viewers. From wallscapes, mobile truck billboards, and aerial sky-typing, we used local media to launch in unexpected ways. Something people couldn’t help but share—our film quickly evolved into a global internet phenomenon.

Rick Astley was perfect for several reasons. First, the lyrics of his iconic song reinforce our message. Second, it has multigenerational appeal, which was critical to the brand’s growth strategy; we created a genuine experience for millennials, due to their connection to Rickrolling, and GenX and younger boomers due to their love of nostalgia and the original track. Third, the act of sharing was already intrinsic to the Rickroll phenomenon; and we knew that if we nailed the delivery, our audience wouldn’t be able to refrain from sharing their experiences, effectively becoming advocates for the campaign, and by extension, InsurAAAnce.

This helped us establish InsurAAAnce as a brand worthy of consideration alongside US insurance titans while finding category whitespace and cultural saliency.

We set out to:

  • Reach and activate millennials, Gen X, and young boomers in key US markets with maximum media efficiency,
  • Boost Q3 metrics +20% in key markets with increased leads,
  • Increase brand awareness and brand discovery by generating a 20%+ increase in online searches,
  • And create a memorable brand engagement driving substantial earned media and positive social response to achieve first-ever mass cultural recognition


Within 24 hours, a new era of Rickrolling had begun—206,000 QR scans from local media placements exploded into +100 million organic views as people shared and reposted.

Celebrities and internet personalities caught on, and our campaign landed the front page of hundreds of major publications. In total, it generated over 700 million US earned media impressions and over 2.2 billion global earned media impressions, transforming a $540,000 media buy into $36 million of earned media in the first week alone—a 65X return. 

The campaign had equally impressive impact on core business metrics:

increase in online search YoY  


increase in insurance quotes YoY


lift in new policies, generating an 84% increase in insurance premiums

The campaign elevated AAA Insurance from a regional brand to a global phenomenon.

What’s next for CSAA Insurance Group?

We’re creating the ultimate boyband. In true CSAA marketing fashion, we’ll continue to use the power of music to connect with customers and build brand awareness. Because who better than the greatest boyband that never was to remind the audience that CSAA will “always be there” for them?  


2023 Effie Awards

  • Insurance
  • Timely Opportunity – Products
  • Media Innovation / Commerce & Shopper

2023 Webby Awards

  • People’s Voice Winner – Video, Viral Marketing