Hancock Ads Take Some Chances

Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos’ latest national TV push for John Hancock Financial Services includes a potentially controversial commercial featuring two women who adopt a baby.
The spot has been teased in the past week on NBC’s pre-Olympic gymnastics programming and will run next month, along with numerous other spots for the client, on the network’s coverage of the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.
The tagline “Insurance for the unexpected. Investments for the opportunities,” introduced by Hill, Holliday five years ago, is retained.
Set in a bustling airport and shot documentary-style by director Tony Kaye, one spot titled “Immigration” shows two women discussing their newly adopted baby. Though the subject matter is handled with extreme subtlety, Hancock has already received some negative feedback from viewers criticizing the spot for its perceived pro-lesbian slant, a source close to the insurer said.
A Hill, Holliday spokesman referred calls to client officials who did not respond by press time Friday.
Another spot in the series shows a middle-aged man agonizing over his decision to place his father in an assisted-living facility.
Boston-based Hancock spent $21 million on ads in 1998, but less than $15 million last year. The current budget was unavailable. K