Case Study: the slow treatment – behind ME Bank’s hour-long ad

Here’s how ME Bank took hold of the slow TV movement to create an hour-long video of a credit card being made from scratch, by hand. In a digital world gorged with fast, ephemeral content; audiences clung to the satisfaction of deliberate film making.

This article originally appeared in The Nurture IssueMarketing‘s current print issue.

Campaign: Slow TV

Client: ME Bank

Agency: Either Either

Background

Since rebranding in 2015, industry superfund owned bank ME has differentiated itself from other Australian banks by developing and executing a social strategy that is not what you’d typically expect from a bank. Its social content is responsive, relevant and relatable to its community and leverages its cool, clever and cheeky tone of voice the brand is built upon.

At ME, the team operate under a core purpose to ‘help all Australians get ahead’ and in line with that, the company values are built to fully empower every staff member to bring their full selves into work every day and create unique experiences people wouldn’t expect from a bank.

  • Go to the moon: don’t be afraid to fail
  • Love Monday: love what you do and put yourself in the game every day
  • Have a swing: push yourself to do more than you’ve ever done before
  • Stay hungry: keep looking, learning and growing, and
  • Ride the subway: get out there and see what our customers see, want, dream of and aspire to.

The social team often employ the values in developing their content and creating their own Slow TV content piece was definitely having a swing. They’ve tried their hand in ‘Tasty’ style videos with a twist, built a community of advocates around a fake debit card that gets you free sausage sizzles at Bunnings, launched faux-influencers and launched a fragrance line for April Fools’ Day.

This year, the ME social and content team set their eyes upon the slow TV trend, harnessing the oddly-satisfying real-time marketing trend by publishing a video of a bank card being hand-crafted entirely from scratch. The content lead wanted to try their hand at long-form video, and a Slow TV style content piece was seen as the perfect antidote to the barrage of bite-sized, attention-seeking video content online.

Taking elements from the popular ’oddly satisfying’ trend, the video showcases a pink silicone mix being poured into a mould and bank card numbers being laser cut and hand-applied with delicate tweezers. All the sounds were recorded to capture the autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) elements as a subtle nod to the growing audiences who enjoy ASMR – a sensorial phenomenon triggered by visual or auditory stimuli. The result was an hour-long piece of hero content launched with a craftsman hand making a ME Buck Debit Card using plastic moulds and a paintbrush that delighted the online community. ME worked with Either Either, a Melbourne-based creative agency and multimedia studio specialising in video content.

Objectives

ME’s social channels play a crucial role in developing brand awareness, engagement and ultimately creating brand advocates through creating emotional connections. The foremost objective of creating this content was to delight a specific segment of ME’s community, as well as create a unique long-form piece of hero content that is not tied to a particular event.

The measures of success for the campaign was reach, watch time and engagement with the media.

Strategy

The insights that informed the content piece were gleaned through observations of the type of video content that was resonating online. Some notable examples that inspired the team were the Slow Summer TV series aired by SBS, the rise of slime artists on YouTube, ASMR work by sustainable cosmetics brand Lush or Diageo’s 45-minute commercial which features Nick Offerman drinking whiskey in silence next to a crackling fire.

6_EE_ME_BUCK_TV_Card_Paint

ME reviews its social content frequently and dissects what resonates and what doesn’t so the team understands what gets to the heart of its community, and customers.

From assessing what content resonates, it’s clear that when a brand can tap into internet trends and find clever ways to integrate themselves into the zeitgeist, it delights consumers, forging a memorable bond and creating a ‘moment that matters’ with the brand.

Execution

The ‘Buck TV’ concept was developed in-house by ME’s social and content team, outlining the insight, strategy and creative vision. After the concept, storyboards and visual art direction was signed off. Development of the project took roughly three months, most of which was spent as Either Either experimented with materials that could withstand the tiny scale of the numbers and thinness of the card. Sound design was also a major part of the project, in keeping with the ASMR concept.

Either Either cofounder and creative director Mete Erdogan was interested in moments like the shirt sleeves sliding against the paper tablecloth, the scalpel cutting through the card and the silicone mould peeling off the resin.

For the digital execution, a hero piece of content running 60 minutes was launched on YouTube and Twitter, and various teasers ranging from 60 minutes down to 10 minutes were launched across Facebook and Instagram, all directing users to enjoy the full 60-minute experience on YouTube.

The social team timed the launch of the content to land just as SBS aired its four-week #SlowSummer TV series special every Sunday night in January. The campaign was launched 13 January and ran for two weeks offering viewers the pleasures of slow viewing anytime. However, one of the piece’s objectives was to have longevity as an evergreen hero content piece that has relevance to a specific audience all year round, and the results show that Buck TV has done just that.

Results

The hero piece of content on YouTube generated more than 27,000 views, and effectively infiltrated the ASMR and oddly satisfying craft loving communities of YouTube. Of the 27,000 views, 24 percent of the audience watched the entire 60 minute video. The comments section attracted many fans of the style of the video, paints and materials used and sound design. One user summed it up nicely with: “One last video before I go to bed! No but really, never been this interested in banking in my whole life…”

The promotion of the video across social channels reached an additional 335,000 with Facebook generating 112,900 views of the 60-second trailer and an engagement rate of 2.68 percent (not including views).

The social team also used this as an opportunity to publish its first piece of longer form content to IGTV. The unique nature of the content piece resulted in three trade media pieces being written, further extending the content through PR.

For a piece of content that was born of one of ME’s unique values, ‘have a swing’, the team are really happy with their first crack at long-form evergreen video content. Now the only question is… what to tap into next?

More Case Studies:

Images courtesy of ME Bank