financial services

Symetra Campaign Takes Sting Out Of Turning 65

Symetra Home PageSymetra Financial looks to allay people's fears about approaching retirement with a new online effort telling consumers: "Don't fear 65."

The campaign--which includes a dedicated Web site,, as well as banner ads on sites such as BusinessWeek, Yahoo Finance, CNN, CBS News, NBC Sports and the Wall Street Journal--is intended to encourage people to think about retirement with hope rather than dread.

"Our research said there's way more optimism [about retirement] than folks might believe. We found people respond better to an empowerment message than fear," Symetra representative Colin Johnson tells Marketing Daily. "It is possible to avoid outliving your money. With the right kind of planning, you can stop worrying and start living."

The heart of the program is a group of online videos of people confronting the idea of the traditional retirement age of 65. In one video, a woman approaches a podium on a stage. "Fellow retirees," she says. "Today we celebrate freedom. The retirement age of 65 once scared us. ... we looked to the future with more questions than answers." But as she continues triumphantly, she talks about having taken control of her finances, eliminated the specter of relying on Social Security checks and no longer having to triple-check grocery receipts. "Sixty-five--we've discovered the difference between just being retired and experiencing the retirement we've always dreamed of," she concludes. "It's time to start living. So take that, 65!"



Another video depicts a man giving a similar speech, talking about "declawing" 65 and approaching retirement like a kid approaching a swimming pool, in a cannonball.

As the speeches conclude, a title card appears with Symetra Financial's logo and the tagline: "Reach for great things." The site also includes content such as financial calculators to determine the right amount of savings, how-to planning resources, an advisor referral service and a section where people can find more stories about how to make the most of retirement through volunteering, hobbies or other activities. The effort targets people 60 and over, Johnson says.

With a tone that is intended to create activism and appeal to people at a grassroots level, the company opted for an online campaign over more traditional venues. "We felt the Web was the right way to broadcast that message," Johnson says.

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