Happy Workers Fuel New Principal Financial Ads

Publicis in Mid America takes an over-the-top approach in new TV spots to show how happy workers are to have retirement plans set up by Principal Financial.

Two 30-second spots that broke over the weekend continue the Des Moines, Iowa, company’s tag, “We understand what you’re working for.” It’s the second round of spots from the Chicago shop since it picked up Principal’s $25 million account last year. Publicis’ first commercials bowed in September 2000.

A spot called “Celebrate” shows workers’ enthusiasm over their 401(k) leading them to act like fans at a sporting event—doing the wave, jumping up and down, and diving into cubicles like sports figures into the arms of spectators. “Want happy employees?” a voiceover asks. “Help secure their financial future.”

The spot will run during sporting events, said Dave Wozniak, Principal’s director of advertising. It was directed by Mark Glassfeld, hired because of the humorous work he has done for ESPN Zone, said Jim Newcombe, the agency’s creative director on the account.

The second spot employs the song “Heigh Ho” from Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which is sung by workers in various professions as they cheerfully go about their tasks. Principal received the rights to use the song from the New York family that owns them—Disney does not.

“We wanted to exaggerate their happiness at work, and ‘Heigh Ho’ seems to be a perfect fit for that,” Newcombe said.

Both spots are airing on 19 cable stations. “Celebrate” will air heavily during the Aug. 25 opening games for college football.

Before Publicis won the account, Principal was running more straightforward, informational spots from Brown Marketing Communications, Chicago, with the tagline “Plan ahead. Get ahead.”