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Price of Living 2040

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The cost of living in Hong Kong has risen to the second highest in the world: Over 25 years, the cost of weekly necessities for a typical household has increased by 3X, while the median income only increased by 2.3X. The city’s people have been too busy struggling for a better living of today, rather than planning for tomorrow.  

In an era when the population is ageing yet inflation is skyrocketing, many of Manulife's competitors have seen an opportunity in the retirement insurance category. However, most competitors usually promote their retirement planning products with rosy dreams that are unaffordable, while majority of Hong Kongers are still preoccupied with short- and medium-term goals. People simply do not see the future needs after retirement, let alone the rosy dreams that insurance companies promote with. 

Hong Kong people are too busy to think about the future. 

The tough living conditions, as mentioned above, makes it very difficult to convince Hong Kong people to take a substantial amount of income to reserve for retirement. To win in the keen competition, Manulife needed to change its audience’s perception in the most provocative way. 


The skyrocketing inflation provided an opportunity to engage the highly price-sensitive Hong Kongers. PHD's idea “Price of Living 2040” was to hijack consumers' routine to make them realise the impact of time on their future standards of living. 

“Price of Living 2040” – the wake-up call for Hong Kong people to start planning for the future. 

Rather than dreams beyond reach, it decided to ring the bell with the basic cost of living in the future, which many have overlooked or found it hard to cope with. By putting a price tag on “future’s life” and infusing them into everyday contexts, the brand created an immersive experience, empowered by media that provoked consumers off-guard. 


The agency illustrated what would be in store in year 2040 for Hong Kongers, starting with things they cared most in their daily life –  housing, medical coverage and holiday:  

 Nano Flats – Featured with “standing beds”, Nano Flats are just fit for the retired who cannot afford a normal sized flat; 

 4-Level Bunk Bed – To deal with the excessive demand over public medical service, public hospital introduces the 4-Level Bunk Bed to create extra hospital capacity; 

 Dream Holiday – The “simulated” travel experience at your home that “brings” you to the travel destination spiritually. 

To captivate people off-guard, PHD integrated the content natively into contextually relevant websites and mobile apps, e.g. online deal site Yahoo! Deals, house-listing portal, and budget travel advisor It was when they were most concentrated on seeing the sun today and forgot to save for the rain tomorrow! E.g. When a young couple was trying to find cheap flats on, they would be drawn to the “affordable” Nano Flat before realising it was actually a stunt. 

The agency extended the idea to social media channels as it created even more “new products” to strengthen the impact by reaching a wider segment of lifestyle seekers:  

 The One Piece Chip Pack 

 The Chinese Cabbage Feast 

 The 5ml Skincare Solution 

Besides native advertising, the agency's search and programmatic buying strategies were also optimised to secure visibility, and retarget engaged audience to drive conversions on RetireSimple.HK, where the audience could browse the retirement plans and finally make an appointment for detailed discussions. 


The resilient lifestyle of 2040 echoed the tough living conditions in HK, generating enormous resonance and massive buzz on media: 

 “Lifestyle of 2040” videos were watched 1.22M+ times in just 8 weeks, 3x of industry average 
 Generated more than 6,900 Likes, 2,600 Shares and 210 Comments on Facebook  
 Engaged 10+ social influencers to share on their own platform, reaching 2M people organically 
 Native content yielded a phenomenal Click-Through-Rate of 1.3%, 10x industry’s standard banner’s average 
 Generated over HKD500,000 ($64,000) in free PR mentions 

More importantly, it communicated the importance of retirement planning and translated the awareness into business results. Post campaign research showed that: 

 Manulife remains the most preferred brand for retirement solutions among major competitors 
 Brand score improved by 26%, audiences found Manulife highly impressive – from trailing the industry to industry’s best
 Over 70% of engaged audiences agrees the campaign “triggered me to start planning for requirement” 
 Over 75% of engaged audience aware of the impact of inflation on their retired life 
 Over 80% of engaged audience aware of the major product offerings of Manulife’s retirement solutions 
 21% of Manulife existing customer expanded their insurance portfolio to include retirement solutions  
 New customer acquisition increased by 8% YOY.

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March - April 2015
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