MassMutual: 5 Stars Go A Long Way

When you have a 5-Star Winner, how do you make it work even harder for you?

One way is to return to its distinctive assets and extend the campaign. But our audience insights and advertising insights tools showed that insurance brand MassMutual took a different approach to its 5-Star “Year In Review” ad, choosing to turn one strong ad into many. It’s an approach many creative agencies are working towards, creating spots which can easily be sliced and diced into multiple shortform ads for TV or digital placement.

Here’s the original ad, which aired at the end of 2017 and got an exceptional high 5-Star score in Ad Ratings.

If you’re familiar with it, it’s probably because a slightly remixed version was used in the 2018 Super Bowl. It’s easy to see why this commercial scored so well in System1 Ad Ratings. The use of a familiar, heart-tugging pop song; the rapid move from fear and anger to pride and relief; and the smorgasbord of different stories MassMutual used to illustrate its theme of overcoming division and working together.

These stories are well-designed to be cut up and used as 15-second ads on their own, or to be combined into 30-second spots, two at a time. Over the first few months of 2018, that’s what MassMutual did. While some of the individual efforts weren’t as strong on their own, the combinations achieved two more 5-Star scores and several 3- and 4-Star Ratings using data gathered from our suite of market research platforms.

In an insurance market where generally you need a Fluent Device (like a gecko or a meerkat!) to cut through, this is not only impressive and on-brand work, but a thrifty approach to using your creative well.

Unlike the stories in the ad, this tale has a less happy resolution. MassMutual ended the campaign earlier this year and are now running work based around the idea of “Acts Of Mutuality”. While keeping to the same branded theme, these ads – like “Dune” above – use voiceover instead of music, have to spend a chunk of airtime defining “Acts of Mutuality”, and use unenaging, slow-motion visuals. Far closer to the financial services formula for advertising, they also score a lot lower – “Dune” only managed 1-Star.

Find out which of your ads are driving long-term growth. Sign up for Ad Ratings HERE.


At System1, we help the world’s largest advertisers make confident creative decisions that lead to transformational business results. Our powerful ad testing platform (Test Your Ad) and our idea testing platform (Test Your Idea) help brands predict the commercial potential of ads and ideas. Complementing TYA and TYI is Test Your Brand, our brand tracking tool which measures the impact of ads and ideas on brand health, ensuring long-term brand growth through predictive success.

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