Esurance got a lot of attention around the Super Bowl for giving away $1.5 million, but let’s face it, that only helped out one guy. The online car insurance broker is now trying to help everybody out by offering up a new online tool to help predict the price of gas.
The Fuelcaster is a mobile web app powered by GasBuddy that uses a proprietary algorithm incorporating pricing signals from industry sources to estimate whether gas prices will rise or fall in a particular ZIP code. It was built by Deutsch LA, within the agency’s Inventioni.st program, an in-house product innovation unit for brands to try out inventions and create new digital products for their customers.
The brief from brand was to create something useful for time-poor consumers that doesn’t require them to be an actual Esurance customer. “This is one of the first projects in the Inventioni.st product team that has gone from a nugget to real life,” says senior “inventionist” Rachel Mercer. “We started with a 10-day idea sprint that generated a bunch ideas, and were able to have a production-ready application in six weeks.”
Agency creative technical director Trevor O’Brien says the partnership with GasBuddy was a no-brainer. “We tried initially to roll our own data solution but quickly realized there were people much smarter and better positioned to be our data partner,” says O’Brien. “We researched a ton of different data solutions and it was by far the most reliable partner we found, so we focused on creating a usable and beautiful mobile web experience using their API with our own software layer on top.”