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Why we’ve got pets talking pensions…

This week, the ABI launched a campaign urging younger workers to appreciate their pensions. Not by telling them about the compound interest they can look forward to, nor by warning them of dire poverty in old age if they don’t increase their contributions, but by putting four photogenic dogs around a café table to chew the fat on their working lives.

Few people would disagree that having enough money to fund the final years of your life is an important issue. We’re all living longer, state support is much smaller than many people realise and the golden age of generous DB pension schemes is coming to an end.

But the truth is that most people, and younger ones in particular, don’t want to spend time thinking about pension saving. It’s a long way off, it appears to be a complex subject, and the levels of saving that are recommended feel unattainable. This leads to people avoiding the topic. A recent survey carried out for the ABI found a fifth of younger workers put off thinking about pensions because the issue is too worrying, or simply feels unreal.

And so we come to talking dogs. We cannot make the case to people that they should be saving more if they disengage as soon as the word “pension” is mentioned. Auto-enrolment has brought millions more workers into pension saving, but we cannot make the case for why they should stick with it when contribution rates climb if they do not want to listen to anything about retirement. Instead, with the help of a focus group, we looked at what younger people are more likely to want to watch and share with their friends and started from there.

It won’t be news to anyone who regularly uses them that films of dogs are extremely popular on social media channels. Ours happen to be talking about some of their work frustrations and looking forward to life after the 9 to 5, with the simple pay-off that if you don’t want to work like a dog ALL your life you should Love Your Pension. The film lives on a campaign page with a simple top five reasons why pensions are worth appreciating. Young people aren’t going to come looking for that information, so our film is being advertised on the channels they’re most likely to use – Facebook and Instagram.

Pension purists may well roll their eyes about the high-level messaging and lack of retirement forecast calculations. Wait until they hear that one of our tactics involves using doggy influencers on Instagram to share our film, with all the bad puns that suggests.

Little_london_maltese, a dog model, has an Instagram account with 138,000 followers and this is likely the first time her followers will have willingly watched anything about pensions. The stars of our film may appear to be talking dogs but in fact they are Trojan horses.

Last updated 14/09/2018