Global asset management company Nuveen – perhaps best known for its controversial Super Bowl spot in 2000 featuring paralyzed actor Christopher Reeve walking again – has hired MullenLowe Group as its creative and media agency of record.
MullenLowe is handling brand strategy and creative development, while MullenLowe Mediahub focuses on media planning and buying. The Interpublic Group agency network won the global business following a competitive review, which was run by SRI, said Reese Lackey, global head of brand for Nuveen.
He added that Nuveen had worked with a number of agencies on projects previously, but did not have an agency and decided now is the time to invest in marketing. Retirement giant TIAA bought Nuveen in 2014, and this January, the parent company took on the Nuveen name for its asset management business.
"We want people to understand that the Nuveen name that they may be familiar with now is very different than the Nuveen they may have known from 10 or 15 years ago," said Lackey. "We're proud of our story – we're over 100 years old – but we have a lot more to talk about, and it was important for us to find a partner to tell this story."
He added that Nuveen has a "strong commitment from the executive leadership team to build the brand in the U.S. and, ultimately, globally."
MullenLowe stood out in the pitch, said Lackey, who joined the company seven months ago, because of its strategic thinking, innovative ideas and hyper-bundled approach of having media and creative under one roof. Nuveen also promoted President and Chief Operating Officer Vijay Advani to CEO in March.
The first work from MullenLowe will break internally in the fourth quarter, followed by a broader launch in the U.S. in the first half of 2018 and then a rollout in global markets. Lackey said Nuveen plans to spend between $30 and $40 million in paid media for the initiative. The brand spent nearly $2.6 million on measured media last year in the U.S., according to Kantar Media.
Alex Leikikh, global CEO of MullenLowe Group, said "it's too early to say" if Nuveen will invest in a Super Bowl spot. The brand's last Super Bowl spot in 2000, which featured paralyzed actor Christopher Reeve walking again, was widely panned as irrelevant and inappropriate.
"Regardless of where Nuveen shows up, we promise it'll be noticed and effective," said Leikikh. "It's a new day at Nuveen with new leadership and commitment to telling their story in a powerful way – standing out in a crowded marketplace."