4A’s, TIAA and Martin Agency restore partnership


Working with The Drum, 4A’s created a content series called ‘Convene’. challenge. change.’ As part of the series, 4A’s President and CEO Marla Kaplowitz leads a discussion with one of our agency leaders and marketing partners to discuss the challenges, opportunities and new ways of working in the post-COVID-19 environment. The series will also inspire action to challenge norms, identify learning, and create new standards that help advance the industry.

In the third episode of the series, Kaplowitz talks with Stephen Tisdalle, TIAA’s Chief Brand and Demand Generation Officer, and Kristen Cavallo, Martin Agency’s CEO. Together, they explore the more difficult aspects of business and strengthen strong partnerships marketers have with their agencies and the value they deliver.

Martin Agency’s partnership with TIAA was nearly 10 years when Tisdalle joined TIAA five and a half months ago. Often when new executives mean new agency, why did he defy conventional wisdom and stay with this record-breaking agency? “The quality of an ad depends on how powerful the brief is, and that can really start to inspire creatives.” He added: “I said I had to give up the challenge and do a 180° from here. We need to completely change the game in terms of what we communicate. Surprisingly, they [the Martin Agency] He got up and said, ‘Come here.’”

Tisdalle and Cavallo provide insight into how their long-standing relationship led to a successful campaign to help women bridge the retirement income gap. The Martin Agency was able to ease the tension of reality, which led to a more moving and thought-provoking campaign than they had together. ‘RetireInEquality’ cleverly points out that it can be viewed as Retire In Equality. or retirement inequality.

They both felt they had a very obvious enemy with Kaploitz, and it reflects that things didn’t turn out right. Too often, women wait too long to think about retirement, and if they wait until the middle or end of their careers, it’s almost too late. As 60% of TIAA’s customer base are women, not addressing this major issue would be unacceptable.

“There are very real statistics that show that by the time women reach the end of their careers, living conditions after retirement are about 30% worse. That means they have 30% less money to retire than their male colleagues.” Cavallo says: “And if you add that women tend to live five years longer, this is bigger than a business problem. It becomes a real human problem.”

What made Tisdalle more convincing than recognizing that she was moving away from TIAA’s past advertising efforts and reaching her core demographics? “My history is doing unconventional things, and when you feel uncomfortable, you know you’ve landed somewhere.”

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