John Hancock Signs $7.5 Million Ad Pact With MSN

John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance signed a two-year, $7.5 million deal with Microsoft to become the premier life insurance sponsor on the MSN Network.

Beginning in early 1999, Hancock will receive brand exposure across MSN.com, MSNBC, the MSN Expedia travel site, the MSN HomeAdvisor online real estate service, MSN MoneyCentral, MSN Hotmail, MSBET, the Underwire women’s online entertainment and information magazine show and the Slate online magazine.

The agreement also includes plans for collaboration in ad research and implementation of new advertising technologies.

“While agents, brokers and other in-person sales are important to us, we want to give consumers a choice and provide them with access to John Hancock products in as many places as possible,” said David D’Alessandro, Hancock president and COO. “The Internet is a growing and powerful purchasing medium, and we want to be the first life insurance company that people think of when they go online.”

“Leading companies like John Hancock understand the value of MSN as they look to promote their brand to the highly qualified consumers who spend time online,” said Charlotte Guyman, general manager of Microsoft online sales and marketing. “We think Hancock’s significant investment in the network reinforces MSN as one of the pre-eminent distribution points on the Web, especially when added to our recent deals with FirstUSA (for credit cards) and the premier search providers.”

Hancock’s banner campaign, Silhouettes, will run on MSN. It features pull-down financial planning tools focusing on different topics such as planning for college, savings, retirement and asset protection.

“We’ve been aggressively expanding our online presence to complement our other distribution channels,” said Kathleen Graveline, senior vice president of John Hancock’s alternative distribution. “And because Microsoft properties attract 40 percent of Web traffic, the sponsorship will significantly expand our reach and provide access to a highly desirable audience. We’re taking insurance industry marketing and distribution to an entirely new level.”

In business for more than 135 years, Boston-based John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co. is one of the nation’s top 15 life insurers. The company and its subsidiaries have more than $116 billion in assets under management.

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