Sun Life takes a page from lifestyle brands

The financial and insurance co aims to modernize with its latest content play.
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Sun Life’s latest campaign doesn’t show its advisors or products in action, turning the focus instead to what consumers can do after becoming its clients.

The launch spot for the new “Life’s brighter under the sun” campaign is comprised of a series of vignettes reflecting the happier moments people can enjoy knowing their finances and insurance are secure. While there are some moments that one would expect to see in an ad from a financial and insurance company – renovating a home, or exercising to reflect the company’s expanding health and wellness related offers – it’s also full of more broad aspirational moments, like sleeping in, taking a trip or enjoying a music festival.

Sun Life worked with Havas on creative, PHD on media and Alter Ego on production for the campaign.

Cynthia Stark, VP of global digital, brand and marketing at Sun Life, says the goal in developing the new campaign was to modernize the Sun Life brand itself, while connecting with Canadians beyond the products and services it offers. The brand decided to take inspiration from lifestyle brands and connect with moments in peoples’ lives, not just the ones that are directly impacted by working with one of Sun Life’s advisors.

“If you feel that we can secure your life, you can get on with loving and living your life,” Stark says. “We’re on a journey at Sun Life to really pivot to being client-centric. We’ve heard a lot about that in the industry lately, but for us, it’s at the core of our whole company strategy, and this is just how we’re reflecting that in our brand and our advertising.”

Focusing on individual life moments and how Sun Life fits into them has also been a part of the approach for the “Money for Life” campaign in past years. Stark says the difference is that while “Money for Life” was more focused on how Sun Life’s advisors and services could fit into those moments in a more direct way, the new campaign is trying to connect on a broader, more emotional level without drawing an explicit connection to its products. “Money for Life” is still being used internally and in instances more directly tied to its services, but for campaigns like this, the goal is to be more relevant in the mass marketplace.

“‘Money for Life’ is still part of Sun Life, but it is not entirely defining who are as a brand anymore,” Stark says. “This is broadening who we are.”

Sun Life also worked with Oath on a branded content series focusing on Canadian artists telling their stories and giving insight into how they are living and loving their lives in music. The videos, meant to be more of a lifestyle-inspired play, are living on Oath properties like HuffPost. The first videos, featuring the Sam Roberts Band and Kardinal Offishall, are live now, with other videos set to arrive in the coming weeks. The four artists were chosen to span different genres and stages in their careers, and also includes more up-and-coming artists like country musician Brett Kissel and indie rock band Mother Mother.

“People listen to music in their lives, and Sun Life is trying to be part of peoples’ lives,” Stark says. “We feel this is a really authentic approach for our content strategy and a warm human approach. Working with Oath is a different media approach that we’ve taken. By leveraging it, we are going to reach over 27 million Canadians, so it’s pretty exciting for us to stay very focused on pushing the envelope and thinking really differently.”