Celebs kick off retirement-themed contest for BMO

The clever initiative is aimed at prompting Canadians to get serious about planning for their financial future.

Acting on the consumer insight that 87% of boomer-age Canadians believe the term ‘retirement’ needs redefining, Toronto-based Tribal DDB came up with a corker of an online contest for BMO, which kicked off yesterday.

First the agency – along with Toronto’s Apex Public Relations – got a gaggle of celebrities to design virtual retirement ‘DreamWorlds’ for posting on a microsite. The thinking is that getting a glimpse of what ballerina Karen Kain, figure skaters Brian Orser and Annie Bellemare, broadcaster Pamela Wallin, hockey champ Johnny Bower and other notables have in mind will inspire non-famous consumers to take steps to achieve sunny futures of their own.

Next, the strategists launched the DreamWorlds contest, offering contestants the opportunity to post their own retirement dreams online until Nov. 16. To help them create their visions, the site provides landscape options – such as mountains, lakes, a villa, a condo or a cottage – plus activities such as volunteering, starting a business or travelling.

After making their choices, visitors are asked to provide a brief description of what they’ve created for inclusion in the ‘DreamWorlds universe’ to be viewed by others. Whoever triumphs in a random draw on Nov. 23 will win $25,000 to help make their dream come true, plus financial planning sessions with an investment professional from BMO Financial Group.

The interactive contest is the bank’s way of ‘encouraging Canadians to define their own version of retirement, share it with others and, most importantly, move from thinking about it to making it happen,’ explains Kris Vikmanis, head of BMO Financial Group’s retirement market.

With Toronto-based OMD handling the media buys, a primarily Web-based marketing campaign for the contest begins today. Roll-over ads will appear on English-language sites: MSN.ca, AOL Time Warner, Canada.com, globeandmail.com, weathernetwork.com, olivenetwork.com, HGTV.com, chatelaine.com and ad.com. Ads have also been posted on the French-language sites of Meteo Media, CyberPresse, Radio-Canada and MSN.ca.

Promotional signage went up in BMO branches late last week, and direct mail pieces are being sent to customers this week.