I recently attended the Ad Club of Boston's CMO Breakfast Presentation by Barbara Goose, John Hancock's CMO, in which she spoke about their recent ad campaign starring David Ortiz. Their campaign goal was to increase brand recognition among consumers, a relatively untapped market for retirement services, and to convert this awareness to engagement in social media.
Why did they select David Ortiz, the well-known and respected member of the Red Sox for this campaign? Well, there were several parallels between David Ortiz and John Hancock:
- David just retired, and John Hancock specializes in retirement services
- Family is very important to David, and John Hancock’s products and services protect people’s families
- David is a long-time Red Sox player who is hugely popular, and John Hancock has been an important part of Boston for 150 years, and a 25-year partner with the Red Sox
- David had a large social media following, and that was a key objective for the new campaign
The ad campaign focuses on Ortiz doing activities most seniors do to occupy their time or stay fit. In the ads, Ortiz, "#RetirementRookie", asks his following on social media what he should do next in retirement. People tweet ideas on what he should do next and they get credit for the idea in the ad. Recent ads include the hilarious concept of Ortiz doing water aerobics with seniors, taking a shot at being a librarian and even stepping in as a pinch hitter in a senior softball league.
In each ad Ortiz speaks with the other retirees in the group and asks if they have any advice for a recent retiree. And after they offer advice Ortiz looks at the camera and asks what he should do next. The ads are great because they are entertaining but they also do a great job of drawing a parallel between issues millennials don't typically think about (retirement) through someone millennials can relate to (Ortiz).
Since the retirement services industry is not considered very exciting, this campaign was effective in that it created momentum and buzz through user-generated content. According to Barbara Goose, 80% of all content is consumed on mobile, and since people don't come to John Hancock they knew they needed to go to the masses through someone with a strong social following with their target, millennials.
John Hancock had several principles that they were following in their marketing efforts, designed to engage with their customers:
- Create with the customer, not just for the customer
- Invest in the end-to-end experience
- Turn everyone into an advocate
- Measure often and adjust in real-time
- Think like a start-up
These strategies are paying off for them with this campaign, as they have received 10.3MM impressions, 2.4MM video views, 6,090 submissions, and 1,477 hashtag uses in social media.
Bill Connor is VP Business Communications at Universal Wilde, focusing on the financial services industry. He partners with clients to understand their key business objectives and challenges to build technology-driven multi-channel marketing and information distribution solutions. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or LinkedIn.