Metlifecare proves its villages are anything but boring

When the retirement village and care home operator, Metlifecare, carried out extensive qualitative research through Kantar TNS, it found the new generation of retirees did not feel old or ready to move into their perception of retirement village life.

According to GM of marketing Blanka Ros, they see villages as the end of freedom, independence and being cut off from the community they love. However, Ros says residents would regularly tell Metlifecare that moving into a village gave them a new lease of life and that they’ve never been busier.

“We encourage people to look at village life as a viable option in later life, or something to consider for ageing parents. Understanding the emotive needs of our customers provided excellent insights, including that no one wanted to think it was ‘the end of the road’ or ‘God’s waiting room’, no matter how old they are.”

Posed with the challenge of changing retirees perception of villages, Metlifecare and brand agency Radiation launched the new brand platform ‘There’s More to Come at Metlifecare’, along with a campaign that demonstrates the new brand platforms – ‘Play More’, ‘Enjoy More’, ‘Grow More’, and ‘Celebrate More’.

Ros says it wanted to break away from the generic ‘elder’ advertising of the category in order to disrupt the entrenched misconceptions it was dealing with.

One of the ways it did this was through bus backs, which media agency Carat selected as the best platform to launch the new brand. Ros says the platform’s achieved a great deal of cut through due to eye-catching creative and good targeting.

But it wasn’t just about unveiling a new look. As part of the branding process, the company reviewed its philosophies around care and customer experience. Ros says its brand promise is to have a progressive and customer-focused approach to ensure that there is, in fact, more to come for residents.

“Part of this is looking at the way we can empower them to shape their experience while living in a Metlifecare community,” Ros says.

One of the first manifestations of this was getting the residents involved with designing and selecting a new logo. Each logo represents the environment and vibrant village community they’re part of, as well as how the residents want to be represented. For example, the logo for Titirangi’s Pinesong village is inspired by a G clef (musical notation symbol) representing its choir and the sound of birds singing, while Coastal Villas’ logo reflects its location with a wave forming the letter C.

There will also be new dishes introduced across Metlifecare’s village network after chef Simon Gault partnered with the company under its ‘Enjoy More’ platform. He worked with the company’s kitchen chefs and presented interactive cooking demonstrations at five of the villages to ensure residents were fully on board with the initiative.

And under the ‘Grow More’ platform, it partnered with NZME to create a series of video stories about residents who are involved in the ‘Metlifecare Maker Movement’.

The movement calls on the practical skills inherent in a generation of retirees as they work with Unitec’s The Mind Lab to learn how to use 3D design, 3D printing and CNC (computer numerical control) cutting for building structures.

Residents were interviewed on their experiences, and four hero residents became the subjects of a series of videos. Featuring Sam Wallace of The Hits, the videos have been shared on nzherald.co.nz, metlifecare.co.nz and the company’s Facebook page. Ros says to date, the videos have had a great response.

“The videos really tell the story – that there is more to come at our villages – but in a way that is entertaining and inspiring.  The market responded very positively to them, with the first videos viewed half a million times already, and our residents absolutely loved being part of it.”

These videos are supported by advertorial stories as well as print, digital and radio campaigns. Public relations company Mango has also been engaged in helping to tell these stories across a number of media platforms, with a strong focus on the people living and working in the villages.

“We’re really pleased with our efforts to date. A lot has been achieved in a short time and we feel momentum is building,” Ros says. “We plan to repeat the research shortly to measure our impact on changing perceptions about both our brand and the sector. You can be sure that there will be more to come from us.”


Client – Metlifecare NZ
GM Marketing – Blanka Ros
Brand Manager – Vanya Piacun
Internal Communications Specialist – Dominique Crikemans
Senior Marketing Executive – Jo Chee
Marketing Executives – Hayley Daffurn, Varnia Taele

Brand Agency – Radiation
Strategic and Creative Director – Jill Brinsdon
Art Director – Luka Nola
Account Director – Liz Rollo
Account Director – Karin Hall
Designer – Denise Faraco
Designer – Sarah Parkinson
Designer – Richard Kuoch
BlackBox Photography

Media Agency – Carat
General Manager – Alex Lawson
Strategy Director – Jacquie Bennett
Senior Business Manager – Nick Dykes
Business Co-ordinator – Tyler Christie

PR Agency – Mango
Managing Director – Claudia Macdonald
Group Business Director – Chloe Hewitt
Senior Account Manager – Max Burt
Account Manager – Aimee Dykstra
Account Executive – Holly Hatch Stevens

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