Finances Are Family Affair in MassMutual Campaign

Effort Sanctions Millennials Moving Back Home

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Actually, you can go home again. That's the message of MassMutual's new ad campaign breaking this week that basically gives permission for kids to move back home.

The Springfield, Mass.-based insurance company's branding and ad campaign is centered around the importance of interdependence in today's increasingly financially fraught society. The company offered some sobering statistics in support of the effort: Nearly one-third (32%) of young adults age 18-to-34 now live at home with their parents; only one-third of baby boomers are confident they will have enough money to last through retirement; millennials are burdened with more than $1.3 trillion in student loan debt; and the median middle class income fell 4% in the past decade

"This is a multi-generational issue," said Gareth Ross, chief digital and customer experience officer at the financial brand. "Parents are not saving for their own retirement to help pay off their children's debt—there's this dependency right now." He added that MassMutual, which has been around for 166 years and is owned by its members and policyholders, wants to provide a message of stability and community.

The work, the first from new agency of record Johannes Leonardo for MassMutual, includes a 60-second spot, a 30-second spot and four 15-second versions airing on nationwide cable and broadcast TV. Other assets of the campaign, which is expected to run for 18-to-24 months, include print, outdoor, radio and digital. A new logo and website will also be rolled out.

Leo Premutico, co-founder and chief creative officer at Johannes Leonardo, said after three or four months of research and going into MassMutual and talking to its executives and stakeholders, the agency landed on a relevant human insight to lead the campaign. "It's our interdependence that is our greatest gift and this first body of work is laying the foundation for that idea," he said.

The agency came up with the new brand "call to action" of "Live Mutual" by going back to the roots of the company, which was founded by a handful of people who decided that the best way to protect their futures was to come together, said Premutico.

He said that people tend to avoid the topic of life insurance because it brings up the concept of death or related issues, so the agency tried to talk about it in a more optimistic way.

The 60-second spot purposely compares small, everyday life moments with grand scenes, such as the sun emerging around the planet as a way to highlight that the little things in life are just as monumental as the big things, said Premutico.

MassMutual is also looking to appeal to millennials, Premutico said, because they are part of a very large emerging demographic and the group has "a lot of financial unpreparedness."

Marketing interdependence is a trend in the financial services industry, according to Mark Arnold, president of Dallas-based On the Mark Strategies, a branding firm. He said that the key to reaching young millennials is reaching them through their parents, especially since such consumers usually open accounts where their parents already do business.

"This generation of folks is closer to their parents than any other previous generation," he said, adding that Generation X is often called the "sandwich generation" as they're now caregivers to both their children and their parents.

MassMutual had previously worked with MullenLowe since 2006 but hired Johannes Leonardo in January. The insurer, which spent nearly $50 million on measured media in the U.S. last year, according to Kantar Media, also tapped Burson-Marsteller, Giant Spoon and The Working Assembly for its new branding.

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