Prudential Financial’s  Bring Your Challenges U.S. advertising campaign, launched in May, 2011 builds on Prudential’s 135-year history of meeting Americans’ financial challenges.

The content highlights some of the tough challenges the company is working to address to help Americans plan for lifetime income security, manage risk in pension plans and investments, and to deliver cost-effective benefits to employees and secure adequate insurance coverage.

Here’s how Prudential explains its campaign

 “Connecting emotionally with consumers is an important step in driving brand preference and motivating action,” says Colin McConnell, head of Prudential Advertising, the in-house advertising agency. “These real-life stories make Bring Your Challenges hit home on the number one financial challenge—retirement.  We hope the ads leave people wanting to hear more from Prudential,” Colin explains.

McConnel says the campaign “ will build on the strength of Prudential’s brand and our leadership position in our core businesses through a 360-degree advertising and marketing campaign across traditional and digital media platforms.”  It includes advertisements in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, The Star-Ledger, Barron’s and the Financial Times, as well as television, outdoor advertising, digital, business, general interest and trade media. As part of the campaign, Prudential has created a website featuring short videos of Prudential business leaders and industry thought leaders discussing the pressing financial issues our society faces today.

New York-based creative agency Droga5 worked with Prudential’s in-house advertising agency on the development of the campaign.

Reviews

One of the more talked about spots is the “Sunrise Montage”  which is discussed on theCreativity site by creative folks. Comments include:

This is truly a beautiful spot . Refreshing to see an insurance company doing something so inspiring.
 But also this:
Banal, uninspired and unforgivable, insincere. “Sunrises,” how spectacularly original. What’s more, Droga should know that people don’t have challenges; but that a “challenge” is a business-speak euphemism for pain,troubles and problems. I doubt we’ll see this spot on Droga’s reel.

But what does the target audience think?

Geri’s Fab Over Fifty blog (FOF) reports that, while these  TV videos were to feature fabulous over fifty women and men telling their real-life stories on “Day One” of their retirement, her visceral reaction to the ads was:

“YICK!” is the only emotional reaction these “real-life stories” elicited from me. The videos are depressing. Think AARP LAND TO THE NTH POWER. I didn’t relate to a single person. The “retirees” act like they don’t have an ounce of energy.  Even when one of them is talking about his grandchildren, he seems depressed. The music is lethargic, too. The message is off the mark. The photography, however, is nice and artsy.  “The campaign completely misses. First, it talks about ‘retirement,’ but nobody is retiring,” said Brent Bouchez, founder of Agency five/o, the only ad agency in the United States that focuses exclusively on marketing to the FOF generation.

According to Geri, “If Prudential and its ad agency really understood the FOF generation,  they would have produced videos of upbeat, energetic, passionate people who were clients of Prudential beforethey retired. The message would be: “Prudential’s financial planning expertise gave me the security I wanted and deserved when I retired. So now I can spend the winter on Turks & Caicos.”

We ARE an energetic, passionate, upbeat generation, whether we’re 45 or 65. And we’re not retiring. Even if we’re leaving our long-time jobs, we’re becoming entrepreneurs and finding creative and profitable ways to use our passions. There are certainly people in every generation who don’t fit the prevailing attitude and profile of their peers. They’ve lost their jobs and maybe their homes. But those folks certainly are not retiring, which makes the Prudential campaign even more idiotic. The only thing Prudential’s campaign will succeed in doing is steering FOFs to its competition.

Snap Principle of Targeted Advertising:

Talk to your target audience first!

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