Magazine article Marketing

The Man from the Pru

Magazine article Marketing

The Man from the Pru

Article excerpt

Peter Davis, the Prudential's top dog, recently signed off a [pounds]30m advertising campaign - with himself in the starring role.

You've probably seen the television ads, which feature Davis, 56, wandering in the rain and eating lunch in a restaurant as he watches customers enjoying the benefits of a Pru pension.

Davis's reassuring voiceovers tell viewers that his job is to make sure Prudential customers are looked after and can enjoy the good things in life thanks to their pensions.

So is Davis the kind of egomaniac that demands multi-million pound campaigns built around himself? No, says the agency responsible, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO. He had to be persuaded to bring back 'The man from the Pru' after 20 years with himself in the starring role, to help put the brand's advertising back on track.

This is certainly something Davis should know about. He took on the top job at the Pru which, with [pounds]91bn worth of funds under management, is the UK's largest insurer - just under two years ago, having built a reputation as a charismatic manager at Sainsbury's and publishing company Reed Elsevier.

He found a company unsettled following the resignation of his predecessor, Mick Newmarch, and one involved in allegations of mis-selling private pensions to people who would have been better off staying with their company schemes.

The Pru's image problem was compounded by the absence of a clear marketing message. During the 80s the company was persuaded to adopt a female persona in the form of the 'Prudence' logo. But the new image failed to hit home with consumers and a series of campaigns, including WCRS's 'I want to be' ads and Mustoe Merriman, Herring Levy's 'Talk to Prudence', were axed.

Within the Prudential itself, he rationalised the company's management structure, placing more emphasis on the role of marketing, and oversaw one of the biggest marketing moves in financial services by launching the Pru as a bank.

Davis believes the Prudential's future is not in selling policies on the doorstep but in being a broad financial services shop using a wide variety of distribution methods. He believes the financial services sector will be reduced to six or seven major operators over the next five years and he is determined the Pru will be one of the survivors. …

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