Modernista. Rules breakers.


TIAA-CREF, which stands for TIAA-CREF, is launching a new branding idea thanks to the people at Modernista in Boston. The idea revolves around TIAA-CREF’s status as a nonprofit. Generally speaking, people know that nonprofits tend to pour money back into the organization…and the cause.

This branding idea is an example of where rules-breaking makes serious sense. Typically, you want to develop marketing from the consumer perspective. The old campaign did that, in fact. The old campaign celebrated TIAA-CREF’s customers, showing vignette’s of teachers, researchers and other members “doing good.” It was a bit of a pander but this type of advertising usually makes everyone feel good: company and customer alike.
But instead of focusing on customers, the non-profit idea focuses on TIAA-CREF. (I call this “me” advertising, which is usually a mistake.) Modernista’s creative idea positions TIAA-CREF as a .org. which as everybody knows is very different than a .com.  Implicit in this positioning is the consumer benefit. Brilliant! It’s a great way to position a benefit without being too overt or using too much chest thumping.
These boys and girls at Modernista got some serious game.