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By Kendra Barnett, Associate Editor

November 2, 2023 | 5 min read

The campaign, created pro bono by Adam&EveDDB New York, targets Americans in their 40s and 50s looking ahead to retirement.

Some 64% of adults are worried they won’t have enough savings to sustain them in their old age. Meanwhile, 22% have no retirement savings whatsoever, according to recent research from AARP.

The 65-year-old interest group, focused on advancing issues that affect Americans over the age of 50, wants to improve these numbers. That’s why it has teamed up with the social impact-focused nonprofit organization the Ad Council and ad agency Adam&EveDDB New York to launch a PSA-style campaign encouraging adults approaching retirement age to proactively plan for their financial futures.

The new campaign, ‘This is Preretirement,’ includes a video ad that, with the help of an unsettling, hairy monster (who represents the fear that many adults experience as they consider retirement planning), empowers seniors-to-be to get a head start on retirement savings. The monster ends up being a friend rather than a foe, pointing a preretiree to a new dedicated website, ThisIsPretirement.org, to help her discover potential tax breaks and easy ways to save for the years ahead.

“This new campaign recognizes that retirement can feel unobtainable, especially for people who believe they are unprepared and aren’t sure where to begin,” Mary Liz Burns, senior director of communications strategy at AARP, tells The Drum. “The PSAs confront this fear and anxiety head-on and show that planning for the future just means taking some small steps. We hope that this fun, furry creature who helps simplify retirement planning will not only make people smile but spur them to take action.”

AARP hopes that the effort will help to normalize the concept of ‘preretirment’ – the period of time during one’s 40s and 50s when retirement is, for many, within sight but still requires careful planning and preparedness. At the new site ThisIsPreretirement.org, users can not only explore a range of financial planning resources but can also take a quiz that will provide them with tailored recommendations.

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The campaign, which includes 45-, 30- and 15-second versions, was directed by New York-based filmmaker Conor Byrne, who has helmed commercial projects for major brands, including Microsoft, Pepsi, McDonald’s and JetBlue. The ads’ furry creature was created thanks in part to Emmy-winning FX studio Legacy Effects and New York-based production studio Missing Pieces helped to bring the story to life.

The project was concepted and executed pro bono by creatives at Adam&EveDDB New York. “[We] wanted to bring something completely different to the category,” explained Jason Ashlock and Paulo Junger, executive creative directors at Adam&EveDDB New York. “Leaning into the complex emotions of fear and relief and taking control seemed like the sweet spot. Bringing it to life was anything but scary. We can’t say enough good things about Conor Byrne and the amazing team at Missing Pieces. Together with the furry wizards at Legacy Effects we were able to craft a creature and an eyeball phone that are sure to capture the imagination and attention of every aspiring retiree.”

The new PSAs, which build on the AARP and Ad Council’s ongoing ‘Saving for Retirement’ campaign that launched in 2017, will run across the US market in donated media space across broadcast, digital, social, radio and print.

Michelle Hillman, the chief campaign development officer at the Ad Council, says she hopes that the campaign will help “take the fear out of planning for retirement by empowering individuals with free tools and resources.”

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