Old Mutual Tries Something New In U.S. Campaign

by , Nov 16, 2007, 5:00 AM
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Though a relatively old company internationally, Old Mutual Holdings is fairly unknown in the U.S., having been in operation here only since 1999. But the company is hoping to change that with a new television campaign that puts its name in people's mouths.

The effort, scheduled to break on Thanksgiving Day, depicts people substituting the name Old Mutual for everyday words and phrases. In one spot, a girl is talking to her distracted father, when she exhorts him to listen proclaiming, "Dad, this is really Old Mutual."

Other vignettes include a football coach telling a player to "protect the Old Mutual" and a woman telling a taxi driver to take the bridge because it's "much more Old Mutual this time of day." A voiceover states that the phrasing may "sound strange now. But with our new thinking about your financial future, it won't for long."

"We have a very low-flying awareness in the U.S.," Siobhan McNulty, Old Mutual assistant VP/corporate communications, tells Marketing Daily. "The campaign is really about getting the Old Mutual name out there."

The spots will air on all four major broadcast networks as well as cable nets, including CNN, ESPN, Fox News and HGTV. The company has bought time during NBC's broadcast of the Thanksgiving Day parade was well as NFL coverage on CBS, Fox and NBC.

The company chose the holiday weekend to launch the effort because it's a time when families -- particularly the company's Baby Boom target -- are together, centered on a television. "[Thanksgiving] is one time when the whole family is concentrated around the television," McNulty says.

Other campaign elements include radio and web advertising on Boomer-targeted sites such as Third Age and AARP, as well as keyword search buy. The company will also have a presence on the multimedia outdoor "Cube" in New York's Times Square.

With so many other financial service companies also targeting Baby Boomers (think Fidelity Investments' 2005 campaign using Paul McCartney songs and video or Ameritrade using Dennis Hopper as a spokesperson), Old Mutual's biggest challenge is to "cut through the clutter," McNulty says. Thus, the creative approach of repeating the company's name often throughout the commercials, she says.

The consumer campaign follows a trade effort the company launched over the summer that introduced the tagline, "Invest. Insure. Innovate." The marketing push comes after Old Mutual's U.S. operations realigned its businesses -- which include life insurance and annuities -- more closely under the Old Mutual Financial Network name, McNulty says. She would not disclose spending on the consumer campaign.

Old Mutual Financial Network is a division of Old Mutual plc, a London-based financial services company that traces its history back to 1845.

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