HomeEquity delivers an ‘I’ll tell you what you can do with your downsizing’ message

Who: HomeEquity Bank with Zulu Alpha Kilo for creative and strategy, OMD and iQuanti for media planning and buying.

What: A cheeky new campaign about reverse mortgages, which let retirees access equity from their home without having to sell it and downsize—even if others may think they should.

When & Where: In market now through the rest of the year. There are three TV ads and two made-for-social videos, with additional creative running in print.

Why: According to an Ipsos study for HomeEquity, a significant percentage of older Canadians (79%) worry that government retirement plans won’t be enough for a comfortable retirement, and many feel pressure to sell their home and downsize to fund their retirement.

“Now more than ever, people are realizing why their homes are more important than just being an asset. There is another choice to downsizing,” said Yvonne Ziomecki, HomeEquity’s executive vice-president of marketing and sales, in a release. “Our research shows us that over 90% of people over 65 want to retire in their home. We can help make that a reality, while enabling Canadians to make the choice that’s right for them.”

To challenge stereotypes about downsizing and slowing down in retirement, HomeEquity and Zulu Alpha Kilo are presenting a very different picture of how retirees are living their lives today.

How: Three different TV spots show scenarios of older people confidently—and comedically—brushing aside suggestions that they sell their house or might need to slow down because of their age.

One of the ads features familiar Canadian actress Jayne Eastwood (who starred in a previous spot in the campaign) playing cards with her granddaughter. The child says her mom told her that grandma is selling her house soon, so she can go and live where other old people live. Grandma leans over to whisper a response that she can pass on to her mother. “What does that mean grandma?” asks the granddaughter.

“It’s high time we put an end to typecasting older homeowners as helpless retirees who can’t manage their own affairs at home. Having the opportunity to lend a hand in telling this story was too good to pass up,” said Eastwood in a release.

In another TV ad, a woman is worried about her father’s sore back being caused by the stairs in the house, but is shocked to find out from her mother just how her still-frisky father actually hurt his back. In the third, a couple laugh in the face of their son-in-law when he suggests they look at retirement living.

“This campaign reinforces the true value of your home, while continuing to empower retirees,” said Zak Mroueh, founder and chief creative officer at Zulu Alpha Kilo. “The work draws from true insights and scenarios that this audience routinely face. No one should be pressured to sell their home. Especially those in retirement.”

In one of the social videos, Eastwood speaks directly to camera, confidently rebutting some of the common suggestions about why a retiree should sell their home. The other video honours those “who stayed put” by showing homes where hotels, high rises and business complexes have been built around them.

And we quote: “[T]his whole notion that when you reach a certain age, you should sell and move out is ridiculous. We want to deliver that message in a manner that breaks down these antiquated stereotypes about retirees not being able to live comfortably at home on their own terms.” —Yvonne Ziomecki, chief marketing officer, HomeEquity Bank.

David Brown