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Monday, April 07, 2008

New Hancock Ad Campaign is Anything but Cursory

News summary by MFWire's editors

John Hancock has launched a $26 million ad campaign. The campaign, dubbed Cursor, features three ads in which people talk about pressing financial issues. However, the conversations will not take place face to face but through a variety communication methods reflecting today's busy lifestyle, according to Hancock officials.

Boston-based ad agency Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos created the campaign. The 30-second television spots will debut beginning today on cable television. Print ads will run in Money Magazine, Sports Illustrated, The Wall Street Journal, Travel & Leisure, and Real Simple. Hancock is also staking out space on the Internet, with online banner ads slated to appear on AOL, SmartMoney, Time and CNN Money.

Company Press Release

BOSTON, April 7, 2008 – John Hancock Financial Services today launched its new “Cursor” advertising campaign with three ads reflecting the new ways in which spouses, family members and friends talk to each other about pressing, and sometimes difficult, topics such as saving money for retirement or protecting a family legacy. It is called the “Cursor” campaign because these conversations – which once may have taken place in person – in reality now are often conducted via instant messaging or email on a computer or portable device, and often late at night or on the go, given today’s lifestyles.

The ad spending level over the next 12 months will be $26 million for the ‘Cursor’ campaign.

“The Cursor ads evoke John Hancock’s longstanding advertising legacy of depicting real people, grappling with important financial concerns, in an intimate and truthful way. A strength of this campaign is that it brings up the uncertainty consumers feel, and makes the viewer or reader think about their own financial situations,” said Jim Bacharach, Vice President of Advertising.

In contrast to the loud and frantic advertising so prevalent in the media today, the Cursor ads are hushed. The only sound other than ambient night sounds or street noise is the soft clicking of a cursor as two persons ‘talk’ online.

In the ad spot known as “Plus,” a husband converses with his wife by typing away at a laptop computer in a hotel room while on a business trip. They remark that his mother’s retirement funds had to last her “95+ years,” and wonder what their “plus” will be. In “Checks,” a businessman and an associate talk about an acquaintance who recently retired, and note that one of them is also nearing that milestone. This prompts one to say, “Just 22 more paychecks and then you get to write your own. How much are you going to pay yourself?” In the spot known as “5 years,” a couple wonders whether a return of 5.7% over five years is “good.”

Like the “Promises” campaign launched in 2006, “Cursor” was also built on John Hancock’s “the future is yours” brand platform, showing its strength and adaptability. The new ad series highlights the way in which John Hancock’s insurance, investment, and retirement products and services – including mutual funds, variable annuities, life insurance and 401(k) plans –are geared toward helping individuals accumulate and protect their assets.

“We have had tremendous, positive consumer and industry response since the ‘Promises’ launch,” Bacharach said. “We believe that part of our consistent success has been because we have taken a different approach to our advertising. The quiet, thoughtful vignettes of ‘Cursor’ underscore the importance of these conversations to virtually every family.”

Boston-based Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos created the campaign. The 30-second television spots that will debut beginning today on cable television, specifically lifestyle, news and sports programming on networks including: CNN, ESPN, Discovery, A&E, History, Travel Channel, and Fox News.

Print publications such as Money Magazine, Sports Illustrated, The Wall Street Journal, Travel & Leisure, and Real Simple will feature full-page, four-color ads. Online advertising is also a part of the mix, including banner ads on AOL, SmartMoney, Time, and CNN Money and customized microsites with AOL, Dow Jones and FoxNews.

About John Hancock Financial and Manulife Financial

John Hancock Financial is a unit of Manulife Financial Corporation (the Company), a leading Canadian-based financial services group serving millions of customers in 19 countries and territories worldwide. Operating as Manulife Financial in Canada and in most of Asia , and primarily as John Hancock in the United States , the Company offers clients a diverse range of financial protection products and wealth management services through its extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners. Funds under management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were Cdn$396 billion (US$401 billion) as at December 31, 2007.

Manulife Financial Corporation trades as ‘MFC’ on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under ‘0945’ on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at www.manulife.com.

The John Hancock unit, through its insurance companies, comprises one of the largest life insurers in the United States . John Hancock offers a broad range of financial products and services, including life insurance, fixed and variable annuities, mutual funds, 401(k) plans, long term care insurance, college savings, and other forms of business insurance.

John Hancock’s primary insurance subsidiaries carry the highest—“AAA”—financial strength rating from Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services.

Life insurance, variable annuities, and group annuity contracts are issued by: John Hancock Life Insurance Company (U.S.A.), Boston , MA 02116 (not licensed in New York ) and John Hancock Life Insurance Company of New York , Valhalla , NY 10595 . Long-term care insurance and fixed annuity products are issued by: John Hancock Life Insurance Company, Boston , MA 02116 .

Edited by: Erin Kello

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