Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise are relative newcomers to Boston. But they share
something in common with longtime Boston institution John Hancock: They’re all
involved with film and TV production work in this state because of our 25 percent tax

In Hancock’s case, we’re talking about television commercials. They may not be as
glitzy or glamorous as a big-budget action flick like the one being shot in Boston now
with Diaz and Cruise. But the TV ads also provide an important boost to the local

Hancock recently decided to shoot its TV commercials here, partly because of the tax
credit and partly because the company wants to support other local businesses,
according to Jim Bacharach, vice president of brand communications and creative

Bacharach told me that Motion Theory, a California production company, recently shot
Hancock ads in a South End cafe, a Cambridge office building and a rail yard in Hyde
Park. He says the ad featuring the cafe (Metropolis, on Tremont Street) is currently
running with two previously shot ads during the Major League Baseball playoffs (yes,
the ads continued even after the Sox dropped out) and college football games on
national TV.

Bacharach says the ads are not aimed at portraying scenes in Boston in particular
(although he says Bostonians will recognize the T car in the ad that was shot in Hyde
Park). There are plenty of locales in Massachusetts that can double as a general
backdrop for an insurance company ad that could resonate with potential customers in
any state.

Unlike most of the companies that participate in the tax credit program, Hancock
doesn’t resell its tax credits. Instead, Bacharach says the insurer – a division of
Manulife Financial Corp. – claims the full 25 percent credit on all in-state production
costs to reduce its own corporate income taxes.

Bacharach says John Hancock plans to continue shooting TV ads here in
Massachusetts as long as the production cycle continues during months with favorable
weather – proof that even our big financial companies can benefit from the tax credit
program that was created nearly four years ago for the film industry.
John Hancock signs its name to the state’s
film industry tax credits
by Roland Hansen
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