Manulife shows off advisors’ expertise—and their humanity—in national campaign

Who: Manulife Investment Management and The&Partnership, with m/SIX for media; Frank Content for video and production and financial marketing agency Ext. Marketing for product marketing.

What: A new national (English and French) campaign, “Advisors Do That.”

When & Where: The campaign broke on Monday (March 2) and runs through May 30. Campaign elements include a series of videos running on YouTube and investor-facing websites such as Yahoo Finance and CBC, complemented by TSAs in Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Toronto, as well as print, social media and search. There is also a new website.

Why: It’s showcasing the experience—and the humanity—of financial advisors. It comes as the rise of so-called robo-advisors is having a significant impact on the industry. According to research aggregator Statista, the robo-advisor sector currently has US$8.1 billion in assets under management, and predicts an annual growth rate of 26.7%—to US$16.6 billion—by 2023. It predicts that 761,000 Canadians will use robo-advisors by 2023.

This new wave of companies has taken aim at traditional companies like Manulife with advertising focused on their high cost and/or the fact they treat their customers like numbers.

Manulife, however, cites a 2019 study from the CIRANO Institute which states that investors who received professional advice accumulated almost four times more assets after 15 years than comparable investors with no advisors. 

How: A series of videos—all of which are “based on real events”—entitled “The Baby,” “The Farm” and “The Father,” tell how financial advisors went above and beyond in their work with clients.

The ads are constructed as testimonials, with advisors telling how they helped clients navigate precarious and complex situations, such as a father being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and a man trying to ensure that a family didn’t lose its farm after an unexpected accident.

Oh, the humanity: Traditional financial companies seem to have seized on “humanity” as a key weapon in their battle against robo-advisors. It was an approach used by CIBC earlier this year, while Assante Wealth Management employed a similar tactic last year.

And we quote: “Advisors help people set meaningful goals—they ask the right questions, help clients develop and stick to a plan and revise that plan over time as life’s circumstances change. Advisors are people and they bring compassion and the ability to navigate difficult situations that help bring clients peace of mind. A death in the family or the necessary funds to start a family are real situations that can quickly become very emotional. We wanted to convey that in the campaign and how the value of advice can be helpful in those moments when clients need it most.” — Derek Saliba, head of Canadian marketing, Manulife Investment Management


Chris Powell