Royal London ads: trust us, we're old


Ant and Dec

In an era of iPhones and Google Glass it is a bold move to play up how old, old-fashioned and traditional you are, but that's exactly what life insurer and investment firm Royal London is about to do. Not heard of Royal London? You are about to – it owns brands Scottish Life, Scottish Provident and Bright Grey, all recommended by financial advisers.

Starting tonight – during Britain's got Talent (ITV 7.15pm) – the 153-year-old mutual insurer is launching an advertising campaign with the slogan "We're so yesterday". It plays up its traditional values and the fact that it has stood by its customers since 1861 – with all profits recycled to policyholders and not to shareholders.
Royal London is mothballing its other brands, with all pensions, life insurance and investment products taking the Royal London name and new Pelican logo. Pelicans are royal birds – according to the Royal Parks they were first introduced into St James's Park in 1664 as a gift from the Russian Ambassador.

Old and proud

The company admits to being old and unashamedly old. It is, as chief executive Phil Loney is pleased to point out – older than Coca-Cola and Walt Disney. Clare Salmon, group brand director points out that the company is uniquely exclusively British. "We're unusually polite. We like doing things in a certain way. We're highly eccentric," she says.

And, as a mutual – owned by its members (policyholders) – it is a firm with a conscience, campaigning for its members and for a better society. It first campaigned to end the burial of poor people in a Pauper's Grave and continues campaigning on issues today.

The ad borrows from Blackadder, with Baldrick-style characters in battle, mud and squalor making jokes of their dire circumstances. You can watch some below. If you miss Britain's got Talent, the ads will be on during the FA cup final too and from then on.

Royal London has also recently launched its first direct-to-customers entry-level life insurance products. Expect to learn more about this, until now, secretive financial services powerhouse.

Key statistics

Total funds under management = £73.6 billion
With-profits fund value = £32.6 billion
Bonuses added to with-profits policies = £318m
New business generated = £3.5 billion
Latest mutual dividend = £81 million
Total pay out to members since 2007 = £430 million
5.3 million customers
Over half a million members

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