Charles Ambrosavage: American Family Insurance pioneer

Charlie Ambrosavage in 1976.Often, when I meet new people and tell them where I work, their response is to sing the iconic American Family Insurance jingle to me. 

This happens all over the country. 

If you’re one of those people who hums our jingle when you hear our name, you can thank Charles Ambrosavage.

Charles led marketing and sales promotion efforts at American Family Insurance for 35 years, retiring in 1983. In 1963, he led us through a name change, from Farmer’s Mutual Insurance to American Family Insurance.  

As part of that change, he oversaw the creation of our iconic logo, jingle and tagline, “All your family’s protection under one roof,” which is the foundation for the tagline we still use today.

American Family Insurance National Headquarters in the early 1960s.We lost a member of our American Family when Charlie passed away Jan. 5 at the age of 96. But he leaves behind a legacy intertwined with the history of American Family Insurance in a deep and abiding way.  

A lot has changed since Charlie retired in the early 80s. We’re operating in more states. Websites and social media have changed how we interact with customers, and they with us. We’ve acquired new companies.

But the values embodied in that tagline and jingle, and what the logo represents – helping families protect their dreams – remains.

Thanks, Charlie.

Editor's note: Funeral services for Charles Ambrosavage were Monday, Jan. 13, 2014, in Madison, Wis. Read his full obituary here

by Michele Wingate on Tue, Jan 14 2014 10:07 am
Posted in Celebrating Life
Posted by Michele Wingate on Tue, Jan 14 2014 10:07 am


Michele said on Jan 14, 2014
Great idea, Jack, I will make that happen!
Mary Ambrosavage said on Jan 20, 2014
Thanks, Michelle, for the nice tribute to our dad. It was great to read everyone's comments and memories of him. We will treasure them. Dad loved his job and the people he worked with. We will miss him, but as he said to just about
anyone he ever met -- "It's a pleasure to have you meet me!"

Thanks, again.
Jack Salzwedel said on Jan 14, 2014
Great blog post, Michele. I met his family at the funeral yesterday. Any chance we could get your blog to them...they would love to read it?
Cesar Pinzon said on Jan 15, 2014
At my recent doctors appointment the doctor mentioned that he knew Charlie for years as a patient. He spoke only in glowing terms of his optimism and pride in American Family's role in the lives of our customers and our role in the community. I was left with the impression that Charlie touched many lives throughout his life.
Pat Miller said on Jan 15, 2014
American Family employees and agents can see some photos of Charlie through the years at http://sharepoint2010mysite/_layouts/ng/pages/tagfilter.aspx?term=thankscharlie
James L Soulek said on Jan 16, 2014
My sincere sympathy to the family of Charles Ambrosavage! In his words "The Greatest Sales Training Director in the Universe". You had to know him to appreciate his talents!!!
Bill OBrien said on Jan 16, 2014
Charlie was the "ALL AMERICAN". He was the "Worlds Best Sales Promoter". Enjoyed his humor at the All American and Sales Management Conferences.We lost a icon who made sales fun. He was American Family in all respects.
William LeFew said on Jan 16, 2014
Like Al Lang, I always looked forward to hearing Charlie speak. He was always up and always positive.In addition, if you got to spend any timew with him one on one, he was a really great man and could always make you laugh
John Freeman said on Jan 16, 2014
I meet him once in the 90's but never knew his last name, He was very friendly but the thing that stuck with me was how proud he was of his time at AMFAM and particularly about the creation of the logo we use and the jingle. I've always wondered who he was ... and now I know.
Mike Shardlow said on Jan 17, 2014
He was indeed a visionary. So enjoyed knowing him during my home office time as a sales trainer.
Lou Cabrera said on Jan 16, 2014
I never had the opportunity to meet or work with Charlie. But his legacy and leadership he left behind for others to follow will always be remembered. Thank you Charlie for your contributions to our great organization, we honor you.

Marcia Danieley Pease said on Jan 15, 2014
I remember my Dad talking about him. My Dad, Don Danieley was with the Company before the name change too. Back then the Company and agents were great life long friends. He really enjoyed Charlie and all their fun times back in the day!
Drew Lawrence said on Jan 20, 2014
Sad news but great memories. I was one of the few "hires" by Charlie which doubled his sales promotion department to two! For years he'd pound out promotions on his typewriter and I was charged with upgrading the agent communications as a new job. He inspired many. He was the greatest!
Gary Hammer said on Jan 15, 2014
When I was an agent in South Dakota in the late 70s and early 80s, Charlie Ambrosavage came to one of our state meetings--probably a Spring Convention. While at the meeting, he challenged part-time agent Charlie Fisher of Long Lake, SD to make the All American in Toronto, Canada. Charlie Fisher said if he were to make the trip, he would like to bring his horse along. Charlie Ambrosavage agreed.

Guess what? Charlie Fisher wrote enough business to earn the trip. At the business meeting, Charlie Fisher and his horse rode from the back of the room, up the red carpeted middle aisle, to the front of the room and then up on stage! It brought down the house.

We will all miss the Best Sales Promotion Director in the Universe!!
AL Lang said on Jan 15, 2014
Charlie did bring a lot of energy and spirit to every convention he attended and spoke at. We looked forward to his time at the podieum as the whole room lit up when he was on stage. We looked forward to his trade mark "Right" in every talk. Great Man
Ann Elkins said on Jan 15, 2014
I was lucky to meet Charlie at the first NHQ conference I ever attended (mid 70's). He was invested, joyful, charismatic---a leader who made you feel you had always known him. Thanks, Charlie.
Mike Frame said on Jan 15, 2014
American Family has been blessed with many great leaders over the 43 years I been lucky enough to be associated with AMFAM. I don't think anyone was moved loved, respected and liked than Charlie! When Charlie took the stage at each All American you could feel the excitement in the crowd with the waiting anticipation of what he was going to do and say. When he mingled with the crowd… people were crowded around him… We lost a true friend and colleague who worked hard to make American Family what it is today. RIP, you deserve it!

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