The return of ’the Man from the Pru’ was heralded by high-profile
advertising featuring a corporate representative promoted from the
doorstep rep of the old campaign to chief executive.
The pounds 30 million campaign also comprises a portfolio of
through-the-line support as the Prudential tries to modernise but, at
the same time, retain authority.
The financial services market is a highly competitive one, made all the
more complex by consumer disinterest. The Prudential clearly positions
itself as a financial services provider with a broad portfolio of
products - from pensions to mortgages and life insurance.
Andrew Williams, the head of brand communication at the Prudential,
says: ’As a result of this, we are competing not just against other life
or pensions specialists, but a broad spectrum of business, including
high street banks and new entrants to the market such as Virgin and
Marks and Spencer.’
The Prudential has had two previous campaigns in recent years: WCRS’s ’I
want to be ...’ and Mustoe Merriman Herring Levy’s ’talk to
Williams says: ’Both were successful in their own right, although each
had weaknesses. ’I want to be’ was well liked and conveyed extremely
warm values, but was not sufficiently branded. ’Talk to Prudence’
addressed the branding issue, but it was not as well liked.’
According to Williams, the latest ’Man from the Pru’ campaign through
Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO aims to combine the strengths and eradicate the
weaknesses of the previous campaigns.
He says: ’Financial services are low interest, high anxiety
We have to re-establish a relationship with consumers to ensure we are
perceived as a company to be trusted. ’The Man from the Pru’ is probably
the most widely known, commercially used brand icon in financial
Implementing the strategy across the Pru’s thousands of items of
communications, however, won’t be simple. Total integration is essential
for it to work.
New material is being carefully tested and researched to replace older
The pounds 30 million campaign is lead by television, poster and press
There will be direct response press and TV advertising from next month,
leaflets , door drops, direct mail and the eventual reprinting of all
The desired effect is two-fold: communicating the rational benefits of
the Prudential’s services, and communicating its emotional values - that
it cares about its consumers and understands their needs.
’Nothing of this scale had been done before,’ Williams says. ’We have
had integrated campaigns, but they were smaller in scale.’
The company’s familiar brand icon has been resurrected because it
remains a powerful focusing tool, he claims.
’The best communications are deeply integrated through the line, both
vertically and horizontally. It’s a huge, huge task.’ The entire
campaign has been co-ordinated in-house with a range of external
specialists. Aside from AMV and its media arm, New PHD, the direct
marketing agencies, Barraclough Hall Woolston Gray and Evans Hunt Scott,
the PR company, Dewe Rogerson, and the recruitment specialists, Barkers,
were all also involved.
AMV worked closely with Williams and his team to agree strategy and
implement it across the board. Peter Knowland, a board account director
at AMV, says: ’Detailed discussion was held with each agency, rather
than agreeing a strategy centrally.’
He adds: ’We have tried to set the broad direction but, at the same
time, we have had to accept that each is an expert in his or her own
particular field. As the campaign unfolds, we anticipate there will be
less direct, central control of every element.’
Implementing the ’Man from the Pru’ strategy is very much a step by step
affair. A DRTV campaign planned for April, for example, is in fact a
regional test to decide whether to proceed nationally. ’DRTV will be
used for Prudential’s home insurance,’ Knowland explains.
In the past, numbers have been carried on ads but DRTV has meant little
more than that. Meanwhile, home insurance has traditionally been sold
through direct response press and door drops. Knowland adds: ’We will
calculate the DRTV campaign’s efficiency by comparing the cost of
respondents with the cost of non-DRTV respondents.’
The Prudential’s size and the breadth of its activities require more
than a quick-fix approach. Williams says it will be ’many months’ before
the introduction process is complete as phased introduction and careful
testing is seen as essential.
Knowland adds: ’It would be easy to set up the strategy and bulldoze it
through, but this might not result in the most effective or relevant
approach in each discipline.’
He sees it as more important to ensure that members of the team behind
the campaign adopt the right style and tone.
Qualitative and quantitative tracking is being conducted to monitor and
evaluate each new element in the Prudential’s communications portfolio.
Williams says: ’As we roll out each stage, we will consider its
performance against benchmarks.’
The Prudential hopes that in this way, the inevitable lag in
implementing the new strategy across the entire organisation can be used
as an advantage.