The Prudential Insurance Company chose Valentine’s Day to promote its new long-form video series to support its individual life-insurance policy business. The online series pay homage to four real policyholders by talking to their survivors to explore the sensitive topic of the loss of a loved one—and the need for life insurance.
The “Masterpiece of Love” campaign features four short films about 20 minutes each (although shorter versions are also available), in which Prudential paired four survivors with four artists commissioned by the company to bring their stories to life.
The lives of these survivors have been altered by love and grief, including over a parent’s death following a long illness, and broaches topics such as how to protect your nest egg from the unexpected.
“We are there at people’s toughest times,” Niharika Shah, vice president and head of brand marketing and advertising for Prudential Financial, told brandchannel. “The idea of dealing with our products is confronting mortality.”
Cue “Masterpiece of Love,” in which the Prudential brand and its people “celebrate the power of the human spirit after loss—and the healing power of art.”
The first film, “Regeneration,” follows the journey of a woman from young widow to new mother: “Amelia Borealis is a new mother. But five years ago, she was a new widow after the sudden death of her husband, Manny. Hear her describe her transformative journey from grief to joy, while artist Tomo Mori shows us what that story looks like.”
The second episode, “Mickey McNany, Show Biz Kid,” pays tribute to a special needs teacher who did her job right up to the end, as remembered by her son: “For more than 30 years, Mickey McNany taught regularly-abled and special-needs kids about the joys of theater. But her most important lesson came after a tragic diagnosis. Experience her story through her son, Ryan, and the work of artist Christine DaCruz.”
The campaign microsite also invites visitors an opportunity to share memories and photos of loved ones to create a unique and collective user-generated digital work of art—a new, shared masterpiece to oater healing and celebrate love.
brandchannel spoke with Shah about how the “Masterpiece of Love” campaign connects to the heart and purpose of the Prudential brand.
BC: Is this a first-of-its-kind campaign for Prudential, and what was the inspiration?
Niharika Shah (right): We bit down hard on the idea of brands as publishers five or six years ago. Through data visualization, we have strived to do content that brings value to people’s lives. This is a new and diffent chapter in different ways.
It’s our first endeavor in short films. We believe stories and sadness and emotional high points and different characters deserve that time for the stories to come alive. Second, we’ve combined two art forms: film production and fine art. It’s a creative style which makes the stories and the films most interesting. And these films lay solid claim that our businesses can and do have social impact.
bc: Why are you talking about death and loss now? For the first time?
Shah: The genesis of this idea came from an insight where for those of us who’ve experienced loss, we know that it’s a pretty isolating time. No one knows what to think. It’s hard to share. But we did find from a social media post we did through Life Insurance Awareness Month that the outpouring was immediate and quite elaborate.
If we can be the brand—and it’s a legitimate claim for the brand – that can be there as people are going through the grieving process, and be a source of strength and optimism and bring these stories to life, we can see that our story isn’t just about loss but about strength and recovery and finding new ways to inspire themselves. These are optimistic stories and our goal is that, whether they’re potential customers, prospects or existing customers, they’ll find value.
bc: How did you land on this creative approach?
Shah: We didn’t know what we would find. There was soft experimentation. It’s a fine line. When you don’t have to write a single line of copy, it’s magical because the words coming out and images being created are so visual and impactful in their own right.
We did a careful pairing of local artists and protagonists, people who had lived through these stories, and found that there was intimacy and trust there so real stories could emerge. The implementation by each artist was all about celebrating the life that had been lived. We didn’t give direction there. We didn’t know what we were going to get, but the minute we saw it we knew it was what we wanted.
bc: How does this project fit into the brand’s overall content strategy?
Shah: We’ve always been about the head and the heart, about content that brings value between us, as a brand, and whoever is consuming the content. It’s part of a multifaceted approach, using a smart database and visual storytelling combined with really good creative execution and production and the right characters.
It falls into the space of more emotional storytelling but is closely aligned with Prudential’s purpose. If, unfortunately, someone is in this position of a journey of loss and recovery and they watch these films and find strength in them as a brand, we will call that success.
bc: What is hope and goals for what this will contribute to the Prudential brand?
Shah: The KPI is favorability, somewhere between awareness and consideration. It’s driven by familiarity of what people know about the brand in terms of its value and understanding, and appreciation for the purpose. We’re hitting there between the eyes. First and foremost, this is an inside-out campaign where employees who see the content—and especially those who take that first call [from a survivor after a death]—will be proud to be associated with a company like Prudential. They’ll find that the tough calls they take and the care they put in is part of a natural healing and resilience that a company like Prudential provides.