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The Challenge

Lincoln Financial Group has been around for over 100 years, and it’s the only company to freely carry the name of the President widely celebrated for his honesty. But in the financial services landscape, trust is table stakes, consumer interest is low, and Lincoln Financial was being outspent by competitors significantly.


While competitors were peddling messages predicated on pragmatism and fear of being left penniless, or begging consumers to talk with their advisors, we blazed our own path. Lincoln Financial focused on the optimistic and motivating force in all our lives: the responsibility of love.


This is the story of Lincoln Financial’s first-ever digital and social-led campaign, where we sought to connect with consumers… by first connecting them to one another.


The Insight

92% of Americans feel it’s important to set a plan for their family and their own financial future. Yet a staggering 47% of Americans struggle to talk about long-term financial planning with their loved ones.


The barriers to having these conversations are plentiful and emotional. It can be intimidating, embarrassing and awkward, especially when planning for unexpected illness or death.


But it’s a conversation worth having. Those who have these conversations are 2.5 times more likely to have a plan to protect their financial future. The more you talk, the better you plan, protect and retire.


The Idea

So, in a category where consumers are driven to talk to advisors, Lincoln Financial asked families to talk to someone else… each other.


Introducing The (Un)spoken Plan, an initiative dedicated to encouraging Americans to have the financial conversations they’ve been avoiding.

The Experience

Pass the pepper. Oh, and if you died, how would our family deal with the loss of your income?


To launch the campaign, we opened a restaurant in NYC to get real, unsuspecting families talking. After arriving, instead of a tasting menu, diners received a menu of alarming data points and tough financial questions. A waiter then told them they could pay for their meal only by having a meaningful financial conversation.


Hidden cameras captured reactions, conversations and connections as families finally put everything on the table – with one another.


A robust digital and social-first communications plan allowed us to get cliffhanger teasers, thumb-stopping GIFs and long-form native video in front of consumers in environments where they actually wanted to spend time watching them.


Even as we created content to focus more closely on Lincoln Financial Group’s individual business units and offerings, we maintained a playful and disarming tone that captivated both consumers and financial advisors.

We also engaged the press with a data-driven pitch about American’s financial conversations – or lack thereof. A robust survey and white paper led to coverage of a variety of financial conversation angles, including the fact that 38% of couples approaching marriage did not talk about each other’s financial situation.


The experiment was covered by CNBC, USA Today and a flood of other press. The (Un)spoken Plan campaign sparked new conversations, at home, via social media and with Lincoln’s advisors.


And the content was effective in changing the attitudes and action of our target audience:

  • 22% increase in brand awareness, an all-time high for Lincoln Financial Group

  • 16% increase in likelihood to talk to an advisor about Lincoln Financial Group

  • 21% increase in financial advisors’ likelihood to talk to clients about Lincoln Financial Group

  • 100 million earned media impressions 

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