Congratulations to the Department for Work and Pensions for winning Gold at the Public Service Communications Awards

Blog post by GCS

Friday 15 March 2019

The ‘You Work, Your Pension Works’ campaign from DWP supports the automatic enrolment policy, implemented in 2012 to reverse the decline in the number of people saving into a workplace pension.

DWP Workplace Pension campaign poster

Objective and Strategy

Social psychology research suggests that most people think of their future selves as entirely separate people from their present selves.

So thinking about pensions and saving for the future might feel a bit like handing your hard-earned cash to a passing acquaintance rather than a treasured old friend.

That’s precisely the mindset DWP’s ‘You Work, Your Pension Work’ campaign sets out to challenge and it does this by getting people to think of their workplace pension as a small version of themselves; a miniature teammate working at their side, earning money for when they retire. It reminds people a workplace pension is a normal and integral part of working life and something most employees across the UK are using to save for their future.

In short, the campaign reframes the relationship people have with their pension, moving it from something problematic and best ignored to something on your side that you should get to know. It invites people to feel responsible for their pension and continue to save and save more, wherever possible.


The campaign targets working-age people across the UK.

Detailed audience insight has been critical to the development of the campaign. We developed a Theory of Change (ToC) evaluation, which mapped out the key behavioural influences for our audience and how they relate to one another. ToC evaluations are a systematic qualitative method involving policy document reviews, interviews and workshops.

Further analysis was undertaken in the form of Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) which looked at the strength of the relationship between these variables.

The most significant learning from both was that knowledge and understanding of the benefits of a workplace pension was important for generating feelings of positivity towards it, which in turn drove employees to stay enrolled.


Live across TV, out of home, online and social, the close relationship between an individual and their pension plays out in the campaign’s ‘hero’ ad: a chef at work in a busy kitchen.

The ‘hero’ ad is supported by six supplementary images for out of home, online and social featuring employees of differing ages and ethnicities in a variety of sectors – wholesale, hospitality, retail, construction and office – where eligible workers are less likely to be auto-enrolled into a workplace pension (a legal requirement). The diversity of workplace scenarios helps a spectrum of employees in the UK recognise themselves in campaign imagery, reinforcing the social norm: ‘saving into workplace pension is something people like me do’.

All of these messages are critically important to communicate as we head towards April 2019, when the minimum contribution for employees will rise from 3% to 5%.

TV and radio were used to maintain our high national awareness key performance indicators (KPIs) throughout the life of the programme. Additional activity included search, out of home, digital, and video on demand.

We supported paid activity with no-cost. As part of this we produced videos in-house with celebrity ambassadors, who gave their time free-of-charge, explaining the benefits of the workplace pension. So far their videos have been viewed over 220,000 times on our owned social media channels.


Results show that the campaign is resonating powerfully with the target audience:

Targets have been significantly exceeded in all three core KPIs:

  • Employees agree a workplace pension is good for them (target 65%)
  • Employees agree saving into a workplace pension is normal (target 65%)
  • Ad recognisers know where to go to find more information about their workplace pension (target 60%)

In addition, digital tracking found in the first 6 months of the campaign traffic to the workplace pension microsite was over 850,000 vs 635,000 the same period the year before. On 31 October 2017, shortly after the campaign went live, the site achieved the highest number of visits since its launch in October 2015.

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