It is with a certain level of Caledonian pride that I approach my latest review. Scottish Widows is one of those Scottish brands which have “done good” – a bit like the financial equivalent of Irn-Bru.
Of course, we are all intimately familiar with the now iconic black-cloaked “Widow” of the ad, both beautiful and haunting in turn.
I was rather impressed by the brand’s latest campaign, which was very well timed, given that the Government is now allowing people to do what they want with their entire pension savings.
Although the familiar figure still remains, she seems to have traded in floating ethereally through ruined castles for something altogether more emotive. The latest campaign is entitled “Change Your Life in an Hour” and aims to start people on their journey towards a prosperous and secure retirement. Although the subject could have been a bit dry, Scottish Widows has turned out something that is emotive and engaging.
Leaving aside the fact that the soundtrack is a little too sugary for my liking, the overall filmic treatment and narrative works really well. The campaign is genuinely inspiring and highlights that retirement doesn’t have to be the end of leading an exciting and rewarding life. In essence, the brand is delivering on its strapline of changing the course of its customers’ lives in an hour – pretty good work really.
Although the campaign could be seen as saccharine and potentially a bit twee, it does tap into a prevailing trend for uplifting ads. It has a similar look and feel to Sport England’s “This Girl Can” campaign, but has the added bonus of not being limited by gender. This is a campaign that touches all of us – after all, we all hopefully reach retirement age.
In fact, by being seen to offer a steady hand and a level of comfort, the campaign gently eases people into a life-stage choice that can often be perceived as challenging to transition to.
Mike Cavers is executive creative director at DST