At Esurance, we believe in doing our part for the environment. So if we have a chance to save a tree, we’re on it. From the thousands and thousands of trees we save by conducting much of our business online to the 100,000+ trees we’ve helped plant, we’re constantly working to make the world a little greener.

But like Kermit famously said, “It’s not that easy being green.” Read on to find out how several TV producers learned this the hard way while filming one of our Esurance commercials.

The dilemma

Picture this: you’re halfway through filming Esurance’s latest TV commercial. A tight deadline looms. The script calls for a tree to crash down on a car. Your extensive search for a fallen-down tree in L.A. has proven fruitless. As a producer, you’re presented with 2 options.

Option 1: take the easy road and chop down a tree.

Option 2: take the not-so-easy road and scour the West Coast for a tree that’s fallen naturally (and looks really cool).

The decision is complicated by the fact that you’re in danger of falling behind schedule (and going over budget). Yet you know the right tree could make or break the commercial. Sounds like a tough decision, right?

Nah, not for Esurance. After years and years of tree-loving initiatives, we couldn’t, in good conscience, chop down a perfectly good tree just to sell a few car insurance policies. Obviously, we’d have to find another solution.

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The challenge

When the TV production team’s L.A. search for that elusive tree failed, Timothy Thomas, prop master for the shoot, looked homeward to Oakhurst, California (near the entrance to Yosemite National Park). And as it just so happened … a big storm had recently blown through and left the perfect fallen tree in its wake.

Forced down by nature with no hope of salvation, it was an ideal fit for the set — a suburban L.A. street. Better yet, the tree’s destiny suddenly shifted from “firewood” to “Hollywood.”

After some artful persuasion and logistical wrangling, a local crane operator loaded the tree onto a truck for the 6-hour journey to Los Angeles, where filming began right on time (with seconds to spare)! Once there, the tree was ready to help make the magic happen in its supporting role.

After the shoot, the tree was donated to a greenery prop house in Los Angeles, so its legacy (and Hollywood story) can live on. We think it’s pretty awesome that our production crew could find a way to save a tree. And we’re pretty sure the tree thinks so too.

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Related links

Watch all of our commercials
Planting trees in Rocklin, California
Planting trees in Springfield, Ohio
The tree-huggers guide to auto insurance

Around Esurance

about Julie

Julie spent a brief but glorious time as the sponsorship PR manager at Esurance, began writing in first grade and hasn’t stopped since. She spent the last 12 years as a publicist, writing press releases about everything from ice sculptures to wine, online gambling to luxury hotels … and now car insurance! Julie is a citizen of Canada, the USA, and the UK.