What would you expect to happen if you asked your agents to sell 25 percent faster? In the case of ReliaStar Life Insurance Company, the results were outstanding. In January 1994,

ReliaStar (then called Northwestern National Life) cut its incentive travel qualification period from two years to 18 months but kept the qualification requirements the same as for its previous contest. A year and a half later, a record number of agents had qualified for the 1995 Convention and the upper-tier Top Ring/Managers Circle Meeting in Australia.

Although agents were accustomed to attractive travel rewards, including recent programs in Hawaii, Hong Kong, Paris, and Spain, Australia was an especially hot ticket. And a comprehensive promotional campaign also takes a good deal of credit for the agents' enthusiasm. Monthly reminders kept sights set on trips to Sydney and Coolum rather than the challenges of the sales goals at hand.

Company: ReliaStar Life Insurance Company

Event: 1995 Top Ring/Managers Circle Meeting and 1995 Convention

Sites: Top Ring-Hyatt Regency Coolum; Convention-ANA Hotel, Sydney, Australia

Dates: Top Ring-October 14 to 20; Convention-October 20 to 25, 1995

Qualification Period: January 1, 1994 through June 30, 1995

Qualifiers: 213 at the Convention, including 56 who attended the Top Ring meeting

Total Attendees: 415 at the Convention, including guests and home-office staff

Theme: Ah!Stralia!

Design: After ReliaStar's Creative Services Department brainstormed as a whole, Senior Art Director Ken Edmondson and Creative Consultant Dan Day formed the team that designed, wrote, and executed the campaign. A freelance illustrator was hired to create the woodcut-style logo.

Promotion Budget: $35,000 including printing, postage, stock photography, original illustration, and assembly of mailers

Savings Ideas: "Every time we went to press, we made sure that we made use of the entire sheet of paper," says Senior Art Director Ken Edmondson. "For example, when we printed the posters, we had extra space on the sheets and were able to create the table tents at the same time. You need to be thinking years in advance."

Departments Involved: Creative Services, Conventions & Meetings and Incentive Travel & Special Events