MassMutual Looks Back on 2017 by Highlighting Positivity, Courage and Kindness

Johannes Leonardo shows this year had its good moments, too

The ad will air during CNN’s New Year’s Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen. MassMutual
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Headlines this year were pretty bleak, if not completely depressing. Natural disasters plagued the country, violence erupted, inequality spread even further throughout the world. There was a lot of negativity, to say the least.

While many companies have (understandably) used their year-end reviews to remember the hard times, life insurance company MassMutual took a different approach to its end-of-year campaign. In a two-minute film entitled “The Unsung,” MassMutual (with creative by Johannes Leonardo) took a look at some of the tragedy that struck in 2017, but also focuses on some of the positive headlines that came out of these trying times.

Take, for example, the story of a group of teens who started a lunch club at school so that no classmate would eat alone, or a synagogue that opened its doors to Muslim worshipers after their mosque was destroyed.

“We didn’t want to limit the stories of 2017 to just the typical headlines that tend to be bleak. Especially this year, conflict at every level dominated the news cycle,” Jennifer Halloran, head of brand and advertising at MassMutual, said.

“We have had a tumultuous, divisive year. No one can deny that,” Jan Jacobs, co-founder of Johannes Leonardo, added. “But that is not the full picture. There are amazing stories all around us, of people looking out for each other, of living mutually. Together, we can get there.”

“The Unsung” is part of MassMutual’s ongoing Live Mutual brand platform with collaboration by Johannes Leonardo. The campaign also includes some print work, as well as a media deal with CNN and Great Big Story. There will be six documentary-style films done by CNN’s brand studio that will dive deeper into some of these stories featured in the original spot. Those will roll out throughout the holiday season across Great Big Story and air on CNN and CNN Airport Network.

The ad will also air during CNN’s New Year’s Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen.

“This is a combination of creative content distribution across digital channels with traditional print and radio channels to help people hear about the story and drive to to meet these people and get inspired as we were,” Halloran added. “Our approach all year is has been to present MassMutual’s new brand story in an ‘always-on’ manner, so this is not just a one drop campaign that runs for a few weeks on social and tentpole media. It’s a specific, purposeful brand message, placed in the right moment at the end of year, in the right channels to get people involved and engaged. “

Agency: Johannes Leonardo
Jan Jacobs Founder, CCO
Leo Premutico Founder, CCO
Kasia Canning Creative Director
Kevin Watkins Creative Director
Esther Park Senior Designer
Carl Mallia Senior Copywriter
Omar Dbeis Senior Art Director
Michelle Moscone Head of Creative Resources
Dana Bruschi Senior Project Manager
Account Management
Bryan Yasko President
Emily Wilcox Head of Account Management
Kate Behne Account Director
Lily Shelmerdine Account Supervisor
Joel Bebasa Assistant Account Executive
Mark Aronson Head of Strategy
Mary Bakarich Strategy Director
Megan Piro Head of Communications Planning
Casey Donahue Communications Planner
Dana May Head of Integrated Production
Craig Keppler Executive Producer
Mea Cole Tefka Senior Producer
Siobhan Spence-Edwards Producer

Media Agency: Giant Spoon
Trevor Guthrie Founder
Laura Correnti EVP, Managing Director
Justine Lyn VP, Media
Paul Baranda Associated Director, Account Management
Caleb Smith Director of Brand Management
Derek Lu Associate Media Director
Walker Schiff Junior Strategist

Film Production
Production Company Radical Media
Austin Peters Director
Jon Doran Executive Producer
Frank Scherma Executive Producer
Jason McCormick Director of Photography
Megan Miller Line Producer
Kendall Rowe Production Supervisor

Photography + BTS
Farhad Samari Photographer
Jeff Clamet BTS Videographer
Jigisha Bouverat Photographer’s Agent

Post Production
Spotwelders Editorial & Post
Marlo Caine Editor
Marc Goldfine & Pete Amante Flame Ops
Amanda Slamin Post Producer
Company 3 Colour
Sofie Borup Colourist
Squeak E Clean Productions Music Production & Final Mix
Rob Barbato Creative Producer
Amy Crilly Executive Producer
Drew Fischer Mixer
Groove Guild Music Supervision
Al Risi Music Supervisor
Heard City Final Mix
Sasha Awn Producer
Dan Flosdorf Final Mixer

Jennifer Halloran Head of Brand and Advertising
Kristin Lane Head of Brand Activation & Engagement
Colin Browning Head of Social Media
Christa Spengemen Advertising Director
Liz Dorrance Content Director

@ktjrichards Katie Richards is a staff writer for Adweek.