Did pensions awareness week work? If so – for who?

Pension Awareness Week has been and gone. I cannot say I contributed much to its delivery –  though this blog and Pension PlayPen did their best to promote awareness of it as a thing.

All week I saw posts which began “as it’s pension awareness week” and continued with an advertisement for an aspect of private pensions.

For instance, I clicked on this picture below to find myself reading an advert to consolidate my pension pots to a personal pension called Moneybox. Moneybox also present a video on the site telling you how to find lost pensions (and consolidate to moneybox)

If you press the URL you find that “5 reasons not to miss pensions awareness day” has morphed into “5 reasons to consolidate your pensions”.

This is confusing to people who come on the site, not least because Pension Awareness Week is brought to you by  the DWP and MaPS (Trading as Money Helper). Pension Attention is a broader marketing campaign established by PLSA/ABI (see below) and Pension Geeks founded PAD and has delivered for 10 years.

While #PAD23 looks a public service,  it is definitely a public/private partnership. Click on “our partners” and you get a different picture.  “Our partners” seems to be a euphemism for “our sponsors.

Where’s Big Zuu ?

Last year, Pension Awareness Week had Big Zuu, who gave the week some focus and some national publicity

Big Zuu was out of this year’s picture, this promotion(from last year’s Daily Mail) is preserved on my blog.

Big Zuu came to us via Pension Attention, a joint enterprise between PLSA and ABI of which Pension Awareness Week is a part.

Big Zuu was supposed to be handing the megaphone on

September 15th has been and gone and all we’ve heard from Big Zuu in 2023 is that he’s a “Spendaver”.

This news doesn’t seem to have got much attention.

We learn more from Standard Life’s website.

We are now in “pension engagement season”

This is a new season that lasts from 11th September to 29th October  and is otherwise known as Pension Attention 2023. Standard Life explain.

What is ‘Pension Attention 2023’?

Pension Attention 2023 is the second year of this campaign, created by the ABI and PLSA, in conjunction with the DWP and 13 industry partners to raise awareness and boost engagement. It launched with Pension Awareness Week (11-15 September) and includes National Pension Tracing Day (29 October).

With joint industry support, it’ll mean there’s a lot of discussion and visibility of pensions from September to November, so lots for your members to get involved in.

Post Pension Awareness Week, we’ve now updated this page and our ready-to-go materials to help you continue to support your members through this campaign.

The “ready to go materials”, are-unsurprisingly a library of marketing collateral designed for Standard Life employers make better use of Standard Life Workplace Pensions.

Big Zuu is not making a reappearance – I suspect the marketing budget has expired for his heavyweight services.

If Pension Attention was bringing us Pension Awareness week, I missed it! It too has its “partners” who look remarkably like the partners for Pension Awareness Day

Pension Attention’s website tells us that we can expect another slug of marketing material on September 20th. Let’s hope that it gets the £10m campaign past its 482 followers on social media.

Measuring success

Apart from the numerous ads to book a session with MoneyHelper and a solitary teach-in session on the State Pension , pension awareness day/week was almost entirely focussed on “live shows” personal finances, mortgages, workplace pensions , SIPPs and annuities. Why mortgages got a slot and DB pensions got nothing, seems down to the partnership/sponsorship deals.

The “live shows” don’t seem to have been curated. Let’s hope they’ve been recorded and are distributed, though I suspect that several of them will be considered “financial promotions” so fall under FCA rules (which Pension Awareness Day is not subject to).

I appreciate that Pension Awareness Week has to be paid for and that the much trumpeted sponsorship of the Pension Attention campaign is only one of the sponsors, but we do seem to be treading a fine line between education and advertising.

What appears to be a national campaign sponsored by the Government turns out to be a series of local campaigns paid for by providers. There is very little on the site for those who are in receipt of a pension, very little about turning pots to pensions and virtually nothing for the millions of us who accrue defined benefits through public sector pensions and the remaining corporate DB plans.

Did pension awareness week work?

The dilution of state involvement in this year’s campaign and the increase in overt advertisements from providers suggests that “measures for success” are changing. The overall organisers of Pension Awareness Week/Day, the Pension Geeks are now owned by Aegon who are not listed as one of the sponsors or Partners.

Pension Awareness Day is billed as an industry initiative to spread awareness about pensions but the amount that is actually about pensions (rather than saving for retirement – or mortgages) is minimal.

So let’s hope that as well as the curated videos of the “live shows”, we get some feedback on who viewed what and in what quantities.

If there is no bus and no public meetings, the digital footprint of Pension Awareness Week becomes the public’s only measure of success.

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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1 Response to Did pensions awareness week work? If so – for who?

  1. Pingback: Pension Attention playbacks Timmy Mallett | AgeWage: Making your money work as hard as you do

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