First-of-her-kind Avatar helps connect us to our future selves
2 Feb, 2023


Sanlam pushes boundaries with new financial education campaign

Mariska Oosthuizen, Chief Marketing Officer: Sanlam Group

Tuesday, 31 January 2023: The Sanlam Group is pushing the boundaries of financial education with a ground-breaking campaign launched today (31 January). LI:FE of Confidence tells the story of Zesande, a digital avatar who lives out her entire life in just 24 hours.

The idea was inspired by the insight that many of us don’t plan for our future because we can’t imagine it. This is one of the key reasons that we opt to live in the moment rather than plan for the future. By helping people connect with their future selves, the group hopes to encourage more South Africans to take financial action at pivotal life moments.

Zesande’s life takes place in the metaverse where possibilities are endless. She realistically ages over the course of a day, learning lessons each hour linked to key life stages.

Mariska Oosthuizen, Chief Marketing Officer: Sanlam Group, explains, “One of the main reasons we miss crucial moments to make sound financial planning decisions – for instance not starting to save early enough to take advantage of interest compounding – may lie in what is known as ‘present bias’ or ‘future discounting’. This is the tendency to choose instant reward above the benefits that come with restraint, time, and planning.

“Research supports this and has even found that when we think of our future self, the synaptic activity in the brain is the same as when we think of a stranger. And since one of the most successful ways to approach a life of financial confidence is to start young and take a long-term view of our financial lives, we knew we wanted to use this insight to educate and hopefully catalyse better financial decision-making.”

She said the group decided to ground this campaign in a concept that everyone of us is very familiar with, a 24 hour day, helping land the importance of connecting with your present and future self tangibly.

Oosthuizen says the campaign’s premise was supported by Sanlam-commissioned research among more than 5 000 South Africans. “It showed we are not making the right money moves at key life stages, resulting in massive gaps in financial planning. More than half (54%) of respondents would advise their younger selves to think of money as an asset to grow, rather than a luxury to spend. Despite theoretically knowing what to do to thrive financially, many are understandably focused on pressing short-term financial priorities.”

LI:FE of Confidence uses computer generated technology to plot out Zesande’s life in the space of 24 hours. A key part of the multi-touchpoint initiative is a web experience which sees Zesande meet South Africans where they are – at their age – via a web and mobile experience and share her lessons through various life stages for them to apply in their own lives.

The project spanned several months and various software and hardware platforms, while also boasting a number of firsts for South Africa, including the country’s first media launch in the Metaverse, the first time some of the tech has been used in a South African campaign, and the first use of a metahuman influencer in a campaign.

Matt Ross, Group Executive Creative Director at King James, says the concept leans into the zeitgeist of the new digital world that is on society’s doorstep. “The lack of limitations in the metaverse is a strong creative enabler. It allowed us to present a financial education message in dramatic and fantastical ways that would not be possible in the real world. LI:FE of Confidence is the first campaign of its kind in South Africa.”

He said the campaign is a very tangible approach to connecting to a whole financial lifetime. “At 6am, Zesande is 20, just starting out in the working world, at lunch time she is 40 and by 8pm she has entered retirement. As she enters the various life stages, she educates consumers about the big financial decisions and plans that need to be made at each stage to live a life of financial confidence.”

Concepts such as compound interest, retirement savings and life insurance are explained and linked to the time of life when those are most important for individuals, helping them tangibly map out their financial lives on a time continuum.

Oosthuizen concludes, “Through LI:FE of Confidence we hope to catalyse better decision making at the moments in life when it counts most, setting South Africans on the path to a life of financial confidence.”

The campaign launched in the metaverse and then plays out across South Africa in digital film, digital experience, digital outdoor, in influencer social media channels and PR – most originally, with the digital avatar doing real-time, real-world live TV broadcasts and ageing realistically on camera over the course of the interview.

To explore Sanlam’s LI:FE of Confidence, visit and to download the full research report, click here:



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