Somewhere amid the personal touch of one-on-one communication and the high-tech touch of virtual communication for DC plans, there's room for cardboard.
To be precise, cardboard cutouts of two service provider representatives proved to be a hit for St. Luke's Health Network, Allentown, Pa., said Sharon Cavanaugh, assistant vice president for retirement administration.
"People were really talking about it much more than I ever anticipated," she said. "People are really embracing this. It's working." Ms. Cavanaugh described her experience during a March presentation for the Pensions & Investments 2021 Defined Contribution Spring Virtual Series.
Pre-COVID-19, she was trying to drum up greater interest among participants in St. Luke's 403(b) and 401(a) plans. She used traditional communication — emails, mailed flyers, online webinars, in-person meetings — but she decided to liven up the presentation with a pair of 6-foot-tall cardboard cutouts of two representatives from Transamerica Retirement Solutions, the plans' service provider.
She put the cutouts — Tom and Scott — in the corporate headquarters and at a campus in Bethlehem, Pa., and placed them near the cafeterias at both locations.
Aside from favorable comments from participants, Ms. Cavanaugh knew she had an attention-grabbing strategy when, one month into the campaign, cardboard Tom disappeared from its usual place in the corporate headquarters. "People came to my office and said he's missing," she recalled. "So, of course, we went look- ing for Tom and we found him on the third floor." He was returned to his regular post.
Although the cutout display started pre- COVID-19, Tom and Scott are still standing sentinel at St. Luke's, reminding employ- ees to save for retirement and protect their health. They are wearing masks.