Annual Report Awards

2 Marketing Lessons From One of the Biggest Secrets of World War II

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Thu, Feb 17, 2011 @ 12:04 PM

Sun Life Financial, Inc., of Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts, received a Stevie® Award for Best Marketing or Sales Brochure or Kit in the publications and annual reports awards categories in The 2010 American Business Awards.

Two lessons to be learned from this case study:

  1. No form of communication today is immune from the requirement to be compelling and immediate.
  2. The message still determines the medium.  Printed sales collateral will continue to be an invaluable tool, in the right context.

Dawn McDermottThe objective for Sun Life Financial’s U.S. creative team was to provide a conversation piece for the firm’s sales force that would capitalize on Sun Life's important connection with Great Britain and Winston Churchill.  They wanted to create a one-of-a-kind commemorative piece that highlighted both Sun Life's wartime mission with Great Britain and Winston Churchill's endorsement of insurance.

The piece, in the form of a parchment scroll, described Winston Churchill’s decision to transport Britain’s wealth to Canada.  In 1941, fearing an invasion, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and the wartime Cabinet decided to send the wealth of the British Treasury out of England. Billions in foreign securities were secretly loaded onto a merchant vessel and sent to Canada for safekeeping. The securities were deposited in specially built vaults deep beneath the Sun Life Canada offices in Montreal.

The handsome scroll was an instant hit with the Sun Life sales force and went to reprint within less than one week of its release in January 2010. Additionally, other business areas of Sun Life requested the piece so that, while originally developed for the U.S., it now sees worldwide distribution.

On accepting the Stevie Award, Dawn McDermott, Associate Marketing Director and writer of the piece, said: “In realizing the magnitude of the trust Britain placed in Sun Life through this historic decision, I was honored to write the piece, and our designer really brought it to life visually.”

Sun Life won a second Stevie Award in 2010 for Best Sales Presentation in the live event awards categories with its Sun Executive Universal Life Client Seminar Program.  “It has been extremely gratifying to see our marketing pieces recognized by our peers,” said Roberta Ruel, Creative Director of Sun Life’s Creative Services. “The Stevie Awards recognize top achievements and contributions across the spectrum of American businesses, and we are pleased to be honored alongside so many other significant organizations.”

About Sun Life Financial
Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial-services organization providing a diverse range of protection and wealth-accumulation products and services to individuals and corporate customers. Chartered in 1865, Sun Life Financial and its partners today have operations in key markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, and Bermuda. As of September 30, 2010, the Sun Life Financial group of companies had total assets under management of US$442 billion. For more information please visit

Tags: communications awards, stevie awards, annual report awards, publication awards