John Hancock Ads Destroy the TV-Digital Divide

The real—and often harsh—realities of life typically don’t make for the most persuasive and entertaining advertising spots. However, in keeping with the John Hancock tradition, the life insurance leader released its newest campaign that, like its products, caters to real life.

The campaign, “Life Comes Next,” integrates more than just real life storytelling—it also integrates multiple channels by telling four life-changing stories across TV, online and social media.

James Bacharach, Vice President of Brand, Marketing & Creative Services at John Hancock explains this strategic move to extend the company’s advertising into the digital landscape:

Life Comes Next stays true to John Hancock’s advertising legacy of authentic depictions of real life situations, while at the same time, reflecting today’s reality that many are watching TV with their smartphone, laptop or tablet active at the same time as well.”

The campaign, which marks 30 years of partnership with Hill Holliday, has a unique way of taking audiences on a journey across the spectrum of channels.  The stories, centered on individuals and families who are confronted with pivotal moments and challenges, begin in TV ads and then end abruptly, hooking in viewers and sending them to a dedicated microsite (hancocknext.com) in order to find out what happens next.

Life Comes Next

But the fate of these stories is in the hands of the viewers—there are three videos for each of the spots—“The Ride,” “The Meeting,” “The Call,” and “The Knock”—all with alternative endings.

The Ride

Ending 1

Ending 2

Ending 3

The Meeting

Ending 1

Ending 2

Ending 3

The Call

Ending 1

Ending 2

Ending 3

The Knock

Ending 1

Ending 2

Ending 3

The campaign’s strategy may seem slightly reminiscent of the Choose Your Own Adventure publishing phenomenon, but it’s effective in that it’s very much set in reality—from the storyline to the range of touch points it employs to reach a constantly moving and increasingly digital consumer.

Bacharach is optimistic that the campaign will be a source of conversation and engagement through social media. “We will be fostering a dialogue, asking viewers how they think the story should or most likely will end, and to share their own experiences,” through #lifecomesnext.

This is a sign that John Hancock—among other big names—is warming up to ideas of innovation in its advertising approach. Bacharach wasn’t afraid to admit to this: “Now, there is a significantly higher online video content whereas before, for us, television had been an end in itself.”

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