Thoughts on Prudential’s “Do What You Love” Ad Campaign

The other day I was taking a break from writing and enjoying a rerun of the Beverly Hills Housewives when a commercial came on that made me scratch my head.

In this 30 second Prudential ad, people on a busy city street are asked what they would do if they were paid to do something they love. The first woman proudly exclaims that she wants to be a writer. Then came a flurry of other responses – an architect, a pie maker, a pilot. The camera pulls back, and you see this big yellow wall where all these people had written their real career aspirations.

The point of the commercial is that you should start saving the money you’re making now in the job you don’t love so that one day you can spend it on what you actually want to do.

As a mom, I’m always encouraging my boys to think big. My job is to help them so that they can grow up to do what they want to do. I sure hope to God that they won’t have to wait until their 65 to do it!

At first, the upbeat, inspirational music and the smiling faces on these people make you think the message of the ad is positive. How wonderful that they’ll one day be able to do something cool like bake pies and have the money to do it.

But, then you think about the real message.  These people would really rather be doing something else. They’re sitting in artificially lit offices, putting up with irritating supervisors, struggling to make ends meet in low paying restaurant or retail jobs. God only knows what else. What a dreary concept for an ad campaign!

I’m all for saving for retirement. And, I get that we all can’t be pie makers and pilots. I also get that Prudential can help you manage your money effectively so that you have enough to get through your golden years.

But, I don’t dig the message that you should be saving now so that hopefully one day you can actually do what you love. Shouldn’t we all be striving to do what we love every day? If you’re not loving what you’re doing, shouldn’t you be working on that now instead of waiting 20 or 30 years to fix the problem?

I feel incredibly blessed that I get to do what that first woman in the commercial said she wanted to do – be a writer. This begs the question. Since I’m already getting paid to write and I love writing, do I really have a reason to ever retire?

I can’t imagine not writing. And, I plan to continue writing long past the age of 65. Retirement isn’t the goal when you’re actually doing what you love to do.  Instead, it’s staying healthy so that you can keep doing it.


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3 responses to “Thoughts on Prudential’s “Do What You Love” Ad Campaign

  1. As I agree with you, what about the people who never get to live their dream? As wonderful as it is to dream big, for some there is the reality of “paying the mortgage” and you and I are so lucky to be loving what we do, and encouraging others to follow their instinct. I am the president of a public relations firm that sees these wildly creative ideas all the time! We have so many fabulous projects that come to us to help get them off the ground. Here is a good example. We have a project just launching called The Hen List. This gal was in a Navy family, moved state to state to state every few years, hard for kids, but also hard on the parent. Her messaging is this “The Hen List turns zip codes into neighborhoods,” and immediately makes you fell like a part of your community. Has best pizza, babysitters, recommended handymen, job postings from business owners in your neighborhood, a family giving away their swingset to someone that will love it, a teenager looking for community service, a dinner chain for a family struggling with a new breast cancer diagnosis, all opportunities to engage and get you involved immediately. And….she is hiring a publisher for every geographic neighborhood and military base in the country to pay forward this idea. WE HAVE ALL BEEN THERE, and can relate. I love this concept. Just as we all can relate to following your dreams! Great post.

  2. At at 68 I am doing what I love by packaging my 40+ career years to help Purple Heart Homes provide more housing solutions to Service Connected Disabled Veterans. I am doing what I love for the greater good and as a result – contrary to what we see on the news — I get to see every day in communities throughout the United States what is right with America. And to recognize my contribution I won the 2013 $100,000 Purpose Prize see: and was interviewed by Fortune recently: I have never been happier and feel so good about what I do. I will never retire — carry me out on a flip chart!

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