Manulife takes a swing at empowering Canadians

The brand enters the latest phase of its largest-ever national advertising effort, for its new Vitality program.

Manulife has launched what it describes as its biggest national marketing effort ever, with the latest phase of its push around Vitality, a new life insurance program that rewards customers for making healthy lifestyle choices.

The campaign first began at Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square in late September, where Toronto Argonauts legend Michael “Pinball” Clemons invited people into a makeshift boxing ring to spell out what they live for by hitting a keyboard made out of punching bags.

The activation, which was documented in an online video, was based around the idea of staying healthy for the things you live for – be it your family, your pets, your community or Sunday dinners. The activations also included free bike tune-ups and giveaways from stress-relievers to pedometres to healthy snacks from apple carts around the square. A similar activation was also done in Montreal, featuring Canadian women’s hockey coach Danièle Sauvageau and Olympic figure skater Joannie Rochette.

A series of 15-second ads have also been created for the campaign, featuring Clemons celebrating and rewarding people for making the “healthier” choice, like biking instead of driving, taking the stairs instead of the escalator or snacking on a piece of fruit instead of chips.

Other elements include OOH, installations in the Billy Bishop Airport tunnel and online advertising. DentsuBos led creative on the campaign, with Mindshare handling media.

Vitality is a personalized life insurance program that gives customers rewards and discounts on their premiums by making healthy choices, which are tracked and recorded by wearable devices and a mobile app. It also sends customers personalized tips and advice on ways they can continue to make healthy choices, based on their age, lifestyle and other information collected during a health survey users take when signing up for the service.

Manulife began creating anticipation for the Vitality launch over the summer with a series of teaser videos. Those videos were largely adapted from a U.S. campaign John Hancock (the brand the company operates south of the border) used to promote the Vitality program there last year.

In addition to being Manulife’s largest marketing effort, the campaign around Vitality also marks a change in the company’s approach, according to Glenn Hollis, SVP and CMO at Manulife. He said in a release announcing the campaign that the company was looking to showcase its beliefs about healthy living through content and services that empower Canadians, and he told Media in Canada that it also represents its biggest use of experiential out-of-home to date.