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Y&R Breaks New MetLife Ads

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NEW YORK Two spots for MetLife by Young & Rubicam focus on alleviating the financial concerns of parents with young children.

Two 30-second spots by the New York shop, which were directed by Joe Pytka of Pytka, broke last Friday on cable and will air on network stations beginning Thanksgiving day. In "Parent's Night," a father reads an essay his child wrote during a parent's night visit to school. The father appears self-conscious because he is several years older than the other parents. A voiceover says, "A MetLife advisor helped this dad create a pension plan. So even though he waited to have children, he won't have to wait to retire forever."

In "Graduation," parents get nostalgic on the day of their daughter's graduation. When they reach the ceremony, it turns out the graduation is only from kindergarten, and the children's mortarboards are made from cardboard. This time, the voiceover says, "MetLife helped these parents create a financial plan. So they'll be ready just in case the next 13 years go as fast as the first five."

"That came out of graduations I've attended for my kids," said creative director Kevin Fahey, who also served as art director and copywriter on the spot. "A mortarboard is still a mortarboard, even if it is made of cardboard."

Ads that ran last year depicted happy moments made possible by financial planning. One ad, for example, showed a grandfather giving his grandchildren a bath.

"The new spots are making the same point—that everybody today is constantly trying to balance needs of this year against long-term needs," Fahey said. "But these spots are a bit of a return to old-fashioned storytelling. They're a little bit more dramatic."

Pytka was chosen to direct because of his way with actors, according to Fahey.

"He's fantastic with actors, and we needed great performances with these spots," Fahey said. "He really wraps himself around the material and thinks about it harder than anybody else."

Other creatives on "Parent's Night" include executive creative director Ann Hayden, art director Richard Goldstein and copywriter Chuck Bromley.

The tagline for the campaign, which also includes print, remains, "Have you met life today?" and appears with a dancing Snoopy, a character that has represented the brand since 1985.

MetLife spent nearly $30 million in measured media in 2002, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.