Northwestern Mutual introduces The Great Realization

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Northwestern Mutual has discovered an overwhelming desire among Americans to earnestly pursue their dreams now, rather than waiting for that elusive “someday.” Yet, for far too many, financial insecurity is standing in the way of going after what’s most important.

Responding to this cultural shift, Northwestern Mutual is unveiling a new national brand campaign – “The Great Realization” – where an individual’s priorities come into sharp focus, prompting them to rearchitect their life and pursue what matters most. The campaign launches today across TV, digital and social media platforms.

“The Great Realization” experience is further validated by a national survey the company fielded in July 2022, among people aged 26-57. The findings revealed:

79% of Millennials and Gen Xers are planning at least one major life change in the next two years, and nearly nine in 10 (88%) say they’re willing to continue pursuing their life goals even if the economy experiences a sharp decline.

More than two-thirds (69%) worry that if they don’t start acting on their life goals in the next 12 months, they might never get around to them.

The number one goal of survey respondents in the next two years is to travel for an extended period of time (30%), followed by purchasing a dream home (27%), having kids or growing their family (21%), and starting a new passion project (21%).

87% of those with significant life goals said there’s at least one factor holding them back from pursuing these goals right away. The biggest of these factors – noted by nearly three in five survey respondents (57%) – is finances.

The award-winning creative agency Mirimar worked alongside Northwestern Mutual to develop “The Great Realization,” an evolution of the brand’s highly successful “Spend Your Life Living” campaign.

A centerpiece of the fully integrated, cross-platform campaign is a long-form anthem the company is featuring across multiple channels, including social media and three TV spots airing in September and running throughout 2023. Watch below:


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“After years of deferred dreams, the pandemic drove a collective awakening that’s motivating people to live more right now,” said Tim Gerend, executive vice president and chief distribution officer at Northwestern Mutual. “Our thousands of trusted financial advisors who serve millions of clients nationwide report the same sentiment: this is a time when people are committing to do the things they’ve been talking about for years. We’re unwavering in our commitment to help people chart a path that will enable them to pursue their passions with confidence, even if life takes another unexpected turn.”

To help guide Americans in making their realizations a reality, the company is also partnering with Gretchen Rubin, a New York Times-best-selling author and happiness expert. Rubin will help consumers understand the connection between happiness and personal priorities – and how they can achieve both through a comprehensive financial plan.

Beginning this month, exclusive content, providing resources and commentary, will be available through Rubin’s Happier app (available in the Apple Store and Google Play), her social media channels and on GretchenRubin.com.

Rubin and Northwestern Mutual will also co-host a series of Instagram Live ‘Happier Hours’ to showcase how real people have pursued changes in their lives that have led to greater overall happiness, all through lively conversations and a series of special guests.

New Chief Marketing Officer Announced

The new campaign coincides with the appointment of Lynn Teo, Northwestern Mutual’s new chief marketing officer who begins with the company on September 12. Teo brings more than 20 years of marketing leadership experience focused on performance marketing, digital and data analytics, and consumer insights to drive business results. She will be responsible for leading the company’s marketing strategy, inclusive of brand strategy, growth of new and existing clients, field marketing strategy, and creative development.

“Lynn is a next-gen marketer who blends both the science and art of marketing. She has a strong track record of leading teams, driving digital transformation, and partnering with sales and business leaders to create value across a variety of industries,” said Gerend. “Lynn will be a critical strategic partner in continuing to build the Northwestern Mutual brand to attract new clients, deepen relationships with our existing clients, and enhance our advisor experience.  We’re excited to have her on our team.”

Prior to joining Northwestern Mutual, Teo served as the chief marketing officer (Legal, Government, and Global Print) for Thomson Reuters, a leading provider of business information services and highly specialized software for legal, government, tax, accounting, and compliance professionals. Throughout her career, she has held multiple executive-level marketing and client experience positions, including, vice president and head of global marketing and customer experience at Wolters Kluwer and CA Technologies.

Teo graduated with honors from both Carnegie Mellon University and National University of Singapore. In addition, she’s an active leader in the industry and is a founding member of The Wall Street Journal Women Network.


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