Prudential Insurance Co.

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Prudential Insurance Co. of America—since 2001 known as Prudential Financial—was organized in 1875 as the Prudential Friendly Society by John Dryden in Newark, N.J. Mr. Dryden, an itinerant insurance agent, adopted a strategy of offering low-cost "industrial" insurance to the working class.

In 1895, Mr. Dryden met Charles Austin Bates, an advertising agent, who convinced Mr. Dryden of the importance of modern advertising methods. Mr. Dryden turned to Mortimer Remington, an account exec with J. Walter Thompson Co. in New York, who developed the emblem of the Rock of Gibraltar for the company along with the slogan, "The Prudential has the strength of Gibraltar." An advertisement bearing the new symbol and slogan first appeared on Aug. 20, 1896, in Leslie's Weekly.

Prudential's logo subsequently became the heart of its brand identity. The company's "Own a piece of the Rock" ad campaign was developed under the direction of Henry E. Arnsdorf, VP-public relations and advertising at Prudential.

Prudential entered the TV market early, sponsoring the "Prudential Family Theater," a one-hour dramatic anthology series carried by CBS in 1950 and 1951. Prudential also sponsored "Your Show of Shows," starring Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca, but was most closely identified was "The Twentieth Century," a CBS documentary series hosted by Walter Cronkite from 1957 to 1969. (In 1966, the program's name was changed to "The Twenty-First Century.")

In 1970, Prudential began a 20-year relationship with Ted Bates & Co. In 1978, Prudential began a three-year campaign that took a somewhat lighthearted approach to death. A representative ad featured angels escorting a young man up a stairway to heaven as he says, "I thought I'd have more time." An angel replies, "Doesn't everybody?"

In 1984, the traditional rock was replaced by a series of diagonal lines of varying widths, suggesting dynamic change while retaining an impression of the original symbol. In the 1990s, the symbol was again modified to reflect the more traditional design.

In 1990, Prudential surprised Madison Avenue by switching its national advertising account to Lowe Marschalk, a unit of Interpublic Group of Cos. However, a restructuring the following year led to the creation of Prudential Securities. Supported by a strong advertising campaign, the firm reported record earnings but had to defend itself against a U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission probe and investor lawsuits claiming that Prudential had misled investors.

In 1994, Deutsch/Dworin created a defensive campaign for the company based on the slogan, "Prudential Securities today. It starts with straight talk."

In 1995, Prudential Insurance moved its account from Lowe to Fallon McElligott. The agency devised a campaign intended to move the consumer from anxiety to empowerment with the theme "Live well. Make a plan. Be your own rock." The life-planning, financial responsibility concept featured, for example, a grandfather playing with children at the beach and intoning, "Prepare yourself well, not half well." Older people themselves became the solid "rocks." The campaign ran for six months. In August 1996, however, Prudential moved its media and creative functions in-house.

When the Dow Jones industrial average plunged in the late summer months of 1998, Prudential placed 43 print ads and 59 TV commercials during a two-week period. Print advertisements carried the headline, "In times like these, where can investors find solid ground?" In 2001, Prudential converted from a mutual company to a publicly traded company and adopted the name Prudential Financial.

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