financial services

John Hancock Ads Embrace Reality

Being forced into early retirement or discovering that someone close has died are scenarios that don’t make for entertaining TV spots. But John Hancock is not shirking from such unvarnished topics in a new campaign.

The integrated series of TV commercials, online videos and web content expose viewers to the ups and downs of real-life. Themed “Life Comes Next,” creative focuses on raw, emotional moments. At a pivotal moment, the stories abruptly end, leaving the viewer to wonder what happens next. Visitors to will see the possibilities, watching events unfold with the different paths that life may take.

The campaign, from Hill Holliday, aims to show how being ready for both the expected and the unexpected is something we all have to face.

“(The campaign)stays true to John Hancock’s advertising legacy of authentic depictions of real life situations, while at the same time reflecting today's reality that many are watching TV with their smart phone, laptop or tablet active at the same time as well,” said James W. Bacharach, vice president of brand, marketing  and creative services, in a release.



The four television ads feature portrayals of common experiences. “The Call” depicts a mother receiving an important telephone call while her high-school aged daughter, who is doing her homework, listens.  Viewers find out what has happened by going online:  does the call bring news of a sudden death, an attractive job offer, or has someone in the family discovered they are having twins?

In “The Knock,” a man knocks on a bedroom door, entering to find either his daughter, grappling with where she can afford to go to college; his recently widowed mother, who may not have enough to live on for the rest of her life; or his wife, worried that her elderly father has run out of money.

A man is summoned to a senior executive’s office in “The Meeting.” Is he leaving the company to start his own business, being asked to take ‘early retirement,’ or being promoted? In “The Ride,” parents are embarking on a car trip with either:  their teenaged son who is starting college, their young son who is starting daycare as Mom returns to work, or a grandfather who is moving into a nursing home.

Along with the story videos, on the HancockNext website viewers will learn where to find more information about financial concerns, as well as noteworthy statistics such as average student loan debt, the percentage of mothers who are the top earners in their families, and the percentage of Americans who have a plan for long-term care.

The campaign also will include an active social media component, Bacharach says.

“We will be fostering a dialogue, asking viewers how they think the story should or most likely will end, and to share their own experiences,” he says.

The audience is invited to join the conversation at #lifecomesnext.

Several aspects of the campaign are new for John Hancock, including a “significantly higher online video content,” Bacharach says. “Before, for us, television had been an end in itself.”

The ads also highlight the range of insurance and financial product solutions available from the company, as opposed to the previous emphasis on investment offerings.

The media buy features high profile televised sporting events, including network and cable college football games, fall golf tournaments and the NFL Network along with lifestyle channels such as the Food Network, HGTV, the History Channel, and America’s Heroes (formerly the Military Channel).

Online placement includes Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn,, SI Wire,, and Yahoo Finance.

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