Canada Life embraces financial individuality in first mass campaign

The insurance and investment co is building awareness for its newly combined brand by promising not to take a one-size-fits-all approach.
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Canada Life is introducing its new unified brand to the country with its first-ever mass media campaign, avoiding the feast-or-famine approach that tends to guide advertising in financial services by positioning it as a provider for whatever needs Canadians might have.

The new brand tagline, “For Life As You Know It,” reinforces the “Life” part of the brand’s name, part of a brand consolidation last year that subsumed Great West Life and London Life under the Canada Life master brand. Using a stylized, slo-mo approach, the creative highlights numerous life milestones big and small – from weddings and graduation to fishing trips and new jobs – underpinned with the Sly and the Family Stone hit “Everyday People” to show that everyone’s life (and financial goals) are different.

“We wanted to avoid fantasy or fear advertising,” says Jeff Marshall, SVP and chief digital and brand officer at Canada Life. He explains that there is a “sameness” in approach to a lot of creative in the financial services space, focusing either on idilic images like sailing around the globe on a yacht during retirement, or – on the other end of the spectrum – fear of not being financially prepared for their future.

By contrast, Canada Life is intentionally focusing on the fact that each Canadian’s life is unique, and guiding them towards financial plans that could fit across a diverse range of clients, needs and life stages.

“All of those unique moments in our lives…all of these are important, even if how we view them has changed [because of COVID]” Marshall says. While financial anxiety has become even more of a factor in the lives of Canadians due to the pandemic, Canada Life tackled that earlier this year with a campaign focusing on how its expert advice would be able to guide Canadians when they needed it most. For its first mass brand-building effort, Marshall says Canada Life wanted to represent Canadian values, as “Canada” is in its name – appreciating that while we share some values, none of us are the same, and each require unique but equally effective financial solutions.

First announced last year, the combination of the three previously separate insurance brands was made official in January. Marshall says the biggest challenge the company faces – one that the new mass media approach hopes to solve – is that Canada Life as it exists now is still a new and relatively unknown brand to many Canadians. Great West Life had built up its brand equity through day-to-day interactions over the decades, rather than advertising. London Life’s positioning was focused more around retirement planning, and Canada Life was a “manufacturers’ brand,” known to advisors for its insurance products.

Marshall says the new creative and the tagline plays well with brand goals and that visual treatment of that concept will be a key component of the brand’s expression going forward, in most cases appearing closely with its three business pillars: insurance, investment and advice.

Created by agency Taxi, the campaign begins this week and runs through November. At its core will be TV, as well as digital video, display ads, social media and out of home advertising across major Canadian cities in English, French, simplified Chinese and traditional Chinese.