JWT Bows ‘Transform Tomorrow’ Campaign for Transamerica

First of four TV ads breaks on 'Monday Night Football'

How do you tackle weighty topics like life insurance and investment planning without being dull or heavyhearted?

Such is the challenge facing Transamerica in its biggest brand campaign in more than a decade. “It has been very important to balance engaging and even entertaining our consumer audience, while at the same time making sure that you’re telling a definitive business story,” said Bill Tate, svp of marketing at Transamerica.

The marketing effort, from the Atlanta office of JWT, features four TV ads, the first of which breaks tonight during Monday Night Football.

Each ad uses special effects to literally get under the roof of Transamerica’s iconic “Pyramid” building in San Francisco and explain the value of the company’s services in life insurance, retirement and investment planning. The ads end with the camera pulling back to reveal the exterior of the building and the new “Transform tomorrow” tagline.

The work has an ethereal quality, with the building’s peak, for instance, rising above clouds. Inside, tangible objects like a sailboat or trailer home parachute down from the ceiling, which is covered with a giant clock with Roman numerals that represents the future.

Transamerica described its new strategic approach as “we are the tomorrow makers.” The strategy is designed to appeal not only to consumers and the third parties like banks that sell Transamerica’s offerings but also company employees, according to Rob Quish, CEO of JWT Atlanta. “It’s really about fulfilling customer needs,” Quish added.

Other campaign elements include print and online ads, a “re-skinning” of Transamerica’s website, keyword search buys, and town hall-like discussions on financial planning that will take place at college campuses.

Print ads will run in The Wall Street Journal, Money, Smart Money, and trade publications such as Investment News and National Underwriter. Web ads will appear on both news sites like Bloomberg.com and CNBC.com and sports sites such as ESPN.com and FoxSports.com. Likewise, the TV ads will appear during both sports and news programming.

Tate declined to discuss media spending, but, given the scope of the campaign, expenditures could exceed $20 million in the next three months alone. Mindshare is Transamerica’s media agency.