NEW YORK John Hancock Financial Services this week launched an ad campaign to alert consumers that the company is capable of doing more than just selling insurance.
The new campaign, called "Cursor," is centered on three TV spots that show family members, friends and businesspeople discussing important financial issues. The name of the campaign stems from the fact that technology has become a major channel of communication for consumers, whether it's text messaging, instant messaging or e-mailing.
In one of the spots, a silhouette of a house is shown in the evening and a woman is seen through a window typing on her laptop. Unlike most TV spots, there is no music or voiceover, just the sound of the crickets outside and the clicking of the cursor. The instant message exchange appears on the screen, revealing to the viewer that the woman is chatting with her husband about an investment return. Screen text says, "Help build your future with John Hancock."
"The thinking behind the campaign was to recognize where consumer sentiment is today. The unstable economy is a source of anxiety for a lot of folks," said Jim Bacharach, vp, advertising at John Hancock, Boston. "One of the key differences from what we've done in the past is that today, more than ever, these conversations take place through electronic media."
John Hancock plans to spend $25 million-plus on the "Cursor" campaign over the next 12 months. The media mix includes broadcast, print and online. Boston-based Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, handles. The 30-second TV spots debuted this week on cable channels including CNN, ESPN, Discovery, A&E and Fox News, among others.
Print ads are running in The Wall Street Journal, Money Magazine, Travel & Leisure, Sports Illustrated and Real Simple. There will be a series of tutorials that contain a John Hancock ad and an article written by each publication, telling a financial success story. For example, Sports Illustrated is bundling the ad with an article about a player who was able to open a minor league franchise without prior experience in the business. John Hancock's financial services are not mentioned in the article. "The goal is to inspire people to do what they want to do with stories that go beyond promoting products," Bacharach said.
The online effort involves banner ad placement on AOL.com, WSJ.com, SmartMoney.com and CNNMoney.com. Microsites were also created in collaboration with AOL, Dow Jones and Fox News where consumers can get help and information on investments, insurance and retirement.
Manulife Financial, a Canadian financial services firm, acquired John Hancock in 2004. The John Hancock brand name remained unchanged in the U.S., but the company's product and services portfolio expanded beyond insurance following the acquisition to include mutual funds, variable annuities and 401K plans. John Hancock launched another campaign, called "Promises," last fall to "re-educate consumers about what [the company] is able to offer," said Bacharach. "Our goal with all of our campaigns since the acquisition has been to change people's perception about us."