Retirees Fulfill Abandoned Dreams in Droga5's New Prudential Campaign

Subjects of Ads Are Also Their Creators in Droga5's Integrated Effort

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Retirement doesn't have to be about whiling away your days aimlessly, playing too much Candy Crush or spending countless hours on the golf course. Those "golden years" can be the beginning of a whole new life -- and even a new career, according to a new campaign for Prudential, created out of Droga5, New York.

The "Chapter Two" multiplatform effort features a series of documentaries, online ads, outdoor and radio that tell the stories of retirees who have begun to fulfill their real dreams only after ending their well-established careers. But not only do the retirees star in the campaign, they created some of it too.

One of the films follows the career path of Carol Lewis, a retired postal worker who goes on to become a filmmaker -- and director of another of the campaign's videos, about Jennifer McKinley, a woman hoping to realize her previously abandoned dreams of becoming a symphony musician.

More retirees, including an IT manager-turned musician and a former business exec-turned-producer, also contributed in making the film.

Other subjects include Francesca Azzara, a real estate broker who resurrects her once-discarded career in fashion and ultimately designs a gown for a mystery celebrity out of fashion house Marchesa. Viewers can follow Ms. Azzara's journey -- and find out which actress wears her gown -- on Prudential's Facebook page.

Outside of the films, a painted wall in New York's Soho district will show the art of retired bank examiner-turned-painter Mike Tiscia. Rich media ads online will also feature retired architect-turned-artist Bob Pillsbury's laser paper-cut art.

Future releases will continue to involve the retirees in a creative capacity.

"It's not about sitting on your hands waiting to die," said Droga5 Creative Chairman David Droga. "People in retirement are part of one of the biggest brain trusts in the world. Clint Eastwood, for example, didn't start directing until after retirement age. People are doing extraordinary things and we wanted to showcase that."

"It was very important to us that the campaign wasn't about people who just put up their hand and wanted to do something -- it's not like the Make-a-Wish foundation," said Mr. Droga. The campaign focuses largely on stories that were started long ago and follows people who, post-retirement, have started once again to nurture the dreams they dismissed when "real life" got in the way.

"Chapter Two" follows Droga5's first big brand push for the advertiser, "Day One." That effort, begun in 2011, documented retirees' on their first days off the job. It was a little bit unsettling, capturing the feelings of uncertainty people face if you haven't properly prepared. The sequel takes a more uplifting approach.

"We always wanted to follow up on 'Day One' because it begs the question of day 5, day 100," said Colin McConnell, Prudential VP-head of advertising. "Whereas that first campaign was really about calling awareness and giving perspective to this idea that there are on average 6,000 days of retirement, we wanted to focus on how you're going to spend that time. We wanted to reframe the insight into paying yourself to do what you love."

The "Day One" campaign "confirmed a hunch" about what approach the advertiser should take with its marketing, said Mr. McConnell. "It takes a certain amount of courage for a financial services brand to go with a campaign that's so emotional, and frankly, so far from the typical products-benefits features language our category tends to use. It's easy to get caught up in that, but when you hold up a mirror to society and tell interesting stories people can relate to and make an emotional connection, you've done something pretty rare and special for a financial services brand. It got a lot of people's attention."

Mr. McConnell declined to disclose specific media budgets on the new campaign, but said, "It's not going to be a high-cost endeavor. We're going to be clever with it and use low-cost methods of distributing content. It's not going to be some big, gaudy number."

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