Financial services company Prudential ran a one-day banner ad on NYTimes.com last week that allowed readers to enter their birthdays to see the cover page of the Gray Lady the day they were born.
According to Prudential, the interactive unit resulted in more than 94,000 total engagements.
It was meant to promote The Challenge Lab, a Prudential site that says it “[breaks] down America’s biggest financial challenges” and launched just one day prior.
Colin McConnell, vice president and head of advertising at Prudential, says the front page takeover has not run on any other sites or dates, but there is potential for similar future ads.
While Tuesday’s ad displayed birthday cover pages, they were quite small and hard to read. McConnell says there was no way to make the images bigger and Prudential declined to comment on a follow-up question about whether the images would potentially be bigger in future ads.
According to McConnell, the ad also featured a sliding scale that allowed readers to view key historical dates in the last 150 years like Lindbergh’s flight to Paris in 1927 and Reagan and Gorbachev signing a missile treaty in 1987. Clicking on the ad took readers to the Challenge Lab site.
While the ad was intended to push Challenge Lab, it also focused on the idea that the world’s first 150-year-old has already been born.
“People into the study of longevity believe that walking this earth today is someone who will probably make it to 150,” McConnell says. “It seems crazy at first, but the oldest living people already are not that far.”
While he acknowledges that certainly doesn’t mean everyone is going to live to 150, he notes the idea of living longer begs the question of how to finance those additional years.
“And, as we’re advertising on TV, the official retirement age hasn’t changed since 1983, so most people are going to have several decades to plan for income and retirement,” McConnell adds.
The Challenge Lab is comprised of three sections: Taking on Your Challenges, Prudential Perspective and Roundtable.
Taking on Your Challenges features content based on so-called challenges like, “I’ll do it later,” and “It won’t happen to me.”
Content includes videos, text, statistics and graphics.
McConnell says this section is designed to be engaging and fun and to get people to start thinking about ways to approach financial planning and decision making. It includes contributing authors from academia who are experts in the fields of behavioral psychology and decision-making.
“It’s designed to be fun, but there’s also some learning, self-awareness and shareable content,” McConnell says.
Prudential Perspectives is more about Prudential’s products and services.
And the Roundtable includes syndicated content from “leading authorities on behavioral finance, psychology, business and economics.”
“We’re looking to grow that section over time as a forum for discussion,” he adds.
Prudential is relatively new to the social space. It launched a Facebook page several months ago and, as of Thursday, had about 50,000 fans.
Its Twitter account, @PrudentialBYC, launched “within the last couple of weeks” and had about 2,300 followers on Monday.
@PrudentialNews had about 880 followers as of late Friday.