The Hartford To Launch New Stag Ads During Tourney Coverage

A series of 15-second TV spots that feature a computer-generated Stag in striking yellow and maroon hues are the hallmarks of The Hartford's marketing campaign breaking for a third year during coverage of the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament.

The advertising tagline, "Prepare to Live," introduced a year ago, is recycled in new ads intended to encourage Baby Boomers to make financial plans for "what should be the best years of their life," said Hartford spokesperson Shannon Lapierre.

TV spots feature upbeat music and the distinctive, well-antlered Stag first used by the 195-year-old insurer in a logo in 1875. In the new spots, the red hart Stag serves as a guide over various terrain and around obstacles before climbing to his ceremonious pose on top of a mountain. The voiceover in one spot reminds customers that, "You only retire once, provided you do it right." In another spot, a voiceover asks customers, "One day you'll greet retirement. How open will your arms be?"



"The Stag serves as a symbol of stability, strength and wisdom -- features that Baby Boomers look for in a retirement partner," said Hartford CMO Ann Glover in a statement. "The shorter ads and strong color palette are designed to break through the clutter in a world where consumers' attention spans are declining and media has become pervasive."

The spots were conceived by Campbell Mithun in Minneapolis, which tapped Eyeball NYC to create the 3-D animation.

Product development and the marketing messaging to support new income annuities stems in part from research The Hartford has sponsored in conjunction with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's AgeLab following a mandate from The Hartford's board of directors' two years ago to better understand the dynamics of the aging Baby Boomer marketplace.

The Hartford first began working with the AgeLab in 1999 to research the habits and behaviors of older drivers to inform its auto insurance products. Since then, the insurer has expanded its relationship to take a deeper look at baby boomers and issues related to retirement especially since longevity is both increasing and raising new questions about how to be financially fit longer.

"We wanted to help the boomer generation and beyond better prepare and understand how they're going to retire -- a big part of this initiative [with AgeLab] was to better inform our financial advisers," says Tim Benedict, a spokesperson for The Hartford. One result was the deployment of a dedicated group of "retirement solutions consultants" who conduct educational seminars for The Hartford's agents, brokers, and financial advisors. "A lot of our learning is going into the creation of materials for them," Benedict says, "but getting a better feel for what's going to motivate people to have that important conversation to put a [retirement] plan together is what's important at the end of the day."

The new TV spots will run during NCAA basketball and football games and PGA Tour events. In addition, The Hartford will bring back its "Trophy" and "Trading Floor" spots to run during NCAA March Madness. In "Trophy," the Stag makes his way though a trophy-lined corridor onto the basketball court where legendary coach John Wooden is overheard proffering advice on winning with integrity and the importance of trust.

The new ads will get additional viewership on NCAA March Madness on Demand, which allows fans to watch free live and archived game broadcasts on their computers.

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