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Symetra Financial

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Dating back to his stint on Fernwood Tonight, Fred Willard has made a brilliant career of playing doltish people. And he's just as good at it in a series of Web videos (via Copacino+Fujikado) for Symetra Financial, targeting retirees and near-retirees. We get to listen in as Willard's character discourses to a bemused grandson about the nature of old age. For instance, his 60s were a blur -- not because they went by quickly, but because he had the wrong prescription for his glasses. And he recalls a couple pieces of advice from his father: "Don't sweat the small stuff" and "Never let them see you sweat." This prompts him to observe that "My dad was very big on sweat-related advice." Noting that "60 is the new 50," he informs the 12-year-old grandson, "That means you're about 2." Interspersed with Willard's words of wisdom are onscreen supers that note retirement milestones, like the fact that you can start withdrawing from retirement accounts penalty-free at age 59 and a half. None of the information imparted by the onscreen type is earthshaking or in any way exclusive to Symetra. But in tandem with Willard's amiable presence, it has the effect of giving viewers a feel for the temperament of a company they may be wholly unfamiliar with. Even Willard's old Jerry Hubbard character probably wouldn't invest his life savings with Symetra solely on the basis of a video like this one, but it does an agreeable job of introducing the company and making viewers curious to learn more about it. --Mark Dolliver