Manulife puts disciplined advice at the forefront

A new campaign shows the benefits of letting "Advisors Do That" when it comes to investments, instead of doing it yourself.

Instead of focusing on the performance of funds or the company as a whole, Manulife is putting advisors and the value of the advice they provide into the limelight in its “Advisors Do That” campaign.

This comes in an age where more and more Canadians are using robo-advisors and “do-it-yourself” investing tools. According to online stats portal Statista, as of 2020, the amount of users of robo-advisors in Canada has increased 42.2% year-over-year. Moreover, according to research conducted by Nest Wealth, almost one-third (30%) of Canadians who opened an RRSP account during the 2018 RRSP season reportedly did so by choosing to invest with a robo-advisor.

“We’re a significant player in the retail investments business, through our mutual fund, ETF and guaranteed investment products. As a result, we want to use that voice to champion advice and the strength of the advisor community,” says Derek Saliba, Manulife Investment Management’s head of marketing in Canada.    “The campaign is a really great example of how we can bring our mission to life.”

The campaign, which launched Monday and runs until May 30, includes a combination of digital, print, out-of-home, social media and search elements.

The digital video element includes three stories of advisors and how they helped families through different scenarios, such as passing down a family farm to the next generation after the patriarch has an accident, and a newlywed family setting aside, planning and investing money so that one day they can have children. The videos emphasize the role the advisor had not just in maximizing their returns, but the impact it had on their lives and goals.

“Advisors help people set meaningful goals: develop a plan, work with them to stick to the plan, revise that plan over time as life’s circumstances change,” Saliba says. “But advisors are people — and they also bring compassion and understanding to a situation…the ability to navigate the difficult situations that help give the clients peace of mind. It is very personal and very real and, therefore, can be emotional. We want that to come out in the ad.”

One of the main consumer insights that contributed to this campaign, Saliba notes, is a study conducted by Montreal-based research institute CIRANO and the University of Montreal, which found households that kept their advisors saw the value of their assets increase by 16.4%, while households that dropped their advisor presented a gain of 1.7%. The survey found the difference could be largely attributed to the “discipline” a financial advisor brings to the household’s behaviour.

“We want to make sure that Canadians understand that part of it, because the discipline, the behaviour, the planning, the coaching, the staying on track, the updating the plan over time as life circumstances change, those are the things that really go the extra mile for clients,” Saliba says.

This campaign is a shift from previous ones, which tended to be more “product-oriented marketing.” Saliba says the campaign’s message is a “really important” one at an important time. “If Canadians can take away that human advice is important and of value, and maybe in a way that they didn’t realize before, I think that really does help bring our mission of making decisions easier, and lives better, to life,” he says.

Toronto-based The&Partnership led the strategy and creative for the campaign, with m/SIX on the media buy. The campaign runs until May 30.