Which came first? The idea for the commercial or the song?
The song, in this case, is “Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise” by The Avett Brothers. It’s a favorite song of the Bonnaroo generation. Now, the song is also an anthem for Northwestern Mutual.
GSD&M worked with Northwestern Mutual to develop the overall brand campaign and created four TV spots for “Spend Your Life Living”.
The man with gray hair in the commercial above says he’s always been running. Running for someone else. Now, he wants to run for himself. Now, because of all he’s sacrificed, he has room to run for the sake of running. He also has the need for a financial advisor.
It’s an interesting commercial, but not a particularly flattering look at the path to prosperity in American culture today.
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What other Americans need the help of a large financial institution to plan their economic well being? Moms and Dads with money!
Life presents all sorts of challenges, well beyond the financial. And the proposed solution from Northwestern Mutual is to “Spend Your Life Living.”
Hmmm…how about “spend your life working all day and into the night and on weekends so you have the luxury of helping your loved ones navigate the complexities and financial challenges of modern life”?
It’s a dark topic because people at every economic stratum are struggling to make ends meet and to find a sense of belonging. People are also seeking health and happiness. It’s not about money but it is.
For such a binary situation, the song “Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise” is perfectly binary.
For what it’s worth, research by Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton, two Nobel Prize-winning economists, shows that in the U.S., more money will make you happier up until an annual income of around $75,000. And then at that point, even doubling or tripling your salary is not going to improve your well-being on many standard well-being metrics.