Financial Firm Looks For Fun In The 'Sun Life'

Sun Life Financial ad spot

Sun Life Financial pokes fun at its relative anonymity among consumers with its first integrated, national ad campaign: "Get to Know Sun Life."

"We are in a strong financial position relative to the number of competitors and we have made a strong commitment to investing in building the brand in general -- and advertising is a big piece of that," Bill Webster, VP brand strategy and development for Sun Life, tells Marketing Daily about the decision to launch its first major effort right now.

The campaign features two fictive company representatives pursuing ridiculous endorsement ideas intended to build awareness for the brand. In television commercials, the two men approach well-known brands that also have "sun" in their names in an effort to insert "Sun Life" into their titles. Each of the ads begins with a voiceover saying things like "Sun Life Financial has never taken government bailout money, yet no one knows our name."



"We wanted to make sure in going out to the market that we are not a new company; that we have strong financials, and that we aren't just healthy but sizeable, with 20 million customers worldwide," Webster says. Initial ads depict the guys rolling up to a recording studio in their 70's era station wagon. There, they meet "KC" of "The Sunshine Band." They ask him to consider changing the band's name. "You're still KC. But they are the 'Sun Life Band.'" The band stares at the two in disbelief.

In a second spot, they stroll into a government office in Florida, where they pitch a representative of the Florida State Tourism office about changing the nickname from "The Sunshine State" to "The Sun Life State." A later spot depicts the two men trying to get Cirque du Soleil, whose national tour Sun Life is sponsoring, to change its name to "Cirque du Sun Life."

In addition to the national television commercials and print advertising, the company has also developed eight webisodes launching later this year that detail the lives of the ersatz company reps. The webisodes will be available on a microsite, The company has also planned social media components that allow people to follow the "Sun Life Guys" on Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.

The campaign targets both consumers and the financial advisor community. While the Canada-based company (which has its U.S. headquarters in Wellesley, Mass.) has strong awareness in its home country, per Webster, it isn't a household name in the U.S. "We think there's a big overlap between the advisor community that needs to know more about Sun Life, and consumers who should also be aware," Webster says. It should work on both sides." The effort is via Richmond, Va.-based The Martin Agency, its BrandFirst Entertainment branded-content division and UK-based Dandelion.

Next story loading loading..