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Stellar Reviews for Brookshire at Eddy Awards

April 6, 2005
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Brookshire grocery co. sent its employees to the movies to help them better plan their retirements. Using the slogan “We’re planning a blockbuster … and you’re the star” to launch its in-house defined-contribution investment program, the company mailed new employees faux movie ads featuring hits such as “Mission: Possible.” Employees who did not opt into the retirement plans were invited to the “Night of the Living Defaulted.” But help was always close at hand with “The Maximator … He’s back … to help you save for your future.”

The creative campaign, prepared with help from MFS Retirement Services, won Texas-based Brookshire first-place honors in the initial education category for corporate plan sponsors at the annual Eddy Awards, sponsored by Pensions & Investments and Workforce Management. The competition recognizes corporate, public and union defined-contribution plan sponsors for the best and most effective investment education programs in several categories.

Successful defined-contribution investment education hinges on branding and the ability to deliver powerful investment education messages in a creative way that ties back to the plan sponsor, rather than the service provider, according to the competition’s judges. Twenty-one Eddy Awards were given to 19 companies at the conclusion of the two publications’ Defined Contribution/401(k) Conference in Miami. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. won two first-place trophies. Smithfield Foods Inc. won two third-place awards.

Phillips-Van Heusen Corp. won the category for companies with fewer than 5,000 employees. “The World Series of Retirement” was a special project that celebrated 401(k) Day. The campaign included an invitation/raffle ticket for “Section 401, Row K” and baseball cards featuring Johnny Benchmark, Barry Stocks and Bonds and Sammy So-So Saver. Company officials turned the headquarters’ atrium into a baseball diamond, where concession goodies included Baby Ruth candy bars, Dubble Bubble gum and popcorn.

Tammie Palchanes, corporate manager of retirement plans at Phillips-Van Heusen, says the idea came from service provider Strong Retirement Plan Services, which is now part of Wells Fargo Retirement Plan Services. “When your record keeper goes to the trouble of providing a great idea, it’s up to the plan sponsor to take the idea and run with it,” Palchanes says.

The judges also recognized entries devoted to training trainers instead of educating participants. Starwood took top honors for its use of a deck of oversized cards to help to train district human resources managers at each hotel. The education cards contained answers to questions frequently asked by participants. Plan promotion cards suggested ways to promote the 401(k) plan. A wild card gave managers who came up with promotion ideas a chance to win a Palm Pilot.

“We needed the directors of human resources to understand the plan for us and to champion it for us. And we wanted to make it fun for them,” said Frank Shanny, Starwood’s benefits manager.

For a complete list of Eddy Award winners, go to workforce.com/eddys.

—Phyllis Feinberg

 

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