Hurling tomatoes to cure bank rage
Campaign: Bye Bye Bank Rage. Hello Heritage.
Client: Heritage Bank
Agency: BCM Partnership
In a long-term campaign, winning tactical battles is vital. Heritage Bank knew this when it launched its ‘Bye bye bank rage. Hello Heritage’ campaign in July to support its long-term goal of bringing more of the big four banks’ least satisfied customers into its folds.
The campaign was timed to coincide with the Federal Government ‘tick and flick’ account switching reforms in July, allowing Australians to change financial institution more easily.
For a smaller bank, without the marketing budgets of the big four banks, this timing would allow it to ride media and public interest in the rule changes.
Heritage had manoeuvred into a strong position before the reforms. In south-east Queensland, where most of its branches are, it has 6% market share, which has been growing year on year. Heritage’s advertising awareness, consideration levels and brand health metrics have also all risen steadily since late 2009, when it introduced its ‘people first’ brand message across all core marketing activity. This had translated into real growth in home loan, customer and term deposit accounts – the core measures of marketing success for banks.
So successful was its ‘people first’ branding, when Heritage changed from building society to bank in December 2011, it stuck to the message, making it clear to customers that the change was in name only. People still came first.
Reiterating its ‘people first’ messaging seemed the next logical step for Heritage, as the Government stepped in to remove the barricades inhibiting customers from switching freely between banks, and Heritage had ammunition to know many might switch. In May 2011, Roy Morgan Research found one in five Australians was likely to change financial institutions in the next year, rising to almost 50% of people if the paperwork and administrative effort were substantially reduced.
Knowing the Government changes were coming and detecting growing consumer ‘bank rage’ through the media, Heritage commissioned additional research in late May 2012 into the term ‘bank rage’ as a potential campaign hook.
Colmar Brunton found it was real. Some 53% of Australians had experienced bank rage, and big four bank customers were more likely to have experienced it, compared to those who banked with a mutual bank, like Heritage. And, compared to other institutions, banks rated third behind telcos and government as the top organisations people get angry with.
This insight into bank rage, combined with the Roy Morgan research, formed a core part of the brief to BCM. Heritage also gave BCM creative licence to do something different with the campaign, while staying true to its core ‘people first’ brand. Getting BCM to think outside the box was also a commercial necessity and the campaign needed to be efficient while still generating the required noise.
BCM came back with the campaign ‘Bye bye bank rage. Hello Heritage’. Essentially, this campaign asked people to identify and release their bank rage in a fun and slightly cheeky way: by hurling tomatoes!
With limited budgets, but a desire to have maximum impact, BCM used existing footage to make two TVCs and kept the rest of its budget for press, letterbox dropped leaflets and street furniture.
But the jewel in BCM’s campaign crown was an interactive live streaming video banner ad, teaming up with digital advertising solutions provider MediaMind to run it. In an Australian first, clicking on this banner ad led people into a studio to virtually participate in Australia’s first ever 24-hour live online tomato throwing marathon.
Heritage rolled out the campaign in two stages. A PR teaser campaign kicked it off on 24 June. Queensland media were sent a mystery box containing a media release about the campaign, key findings from the Colmar Brunton research and a tomato. Media responded positively, calling on Heritage Bank CEO John Minz for interviews throughout the day.
In the week before to the new legislation, Heritage launched its first TVC, simply announcing: ‘It’s coming’. Online advertising powered by the MediaMind platform and a dedicated campaign website (byebyebankrage.com) also kicked off to support this.
On Sunday 1 July, when the new rules kicked in, Heritage unveiled its main campaign. This included:
- A new TVC declaring ‘Now you can make the switch’,
- a double-page spread and switch form in Queensland’s highest circulation Sunday paper The Sunday Mail, and
- a letterbox drop, including the switch form, to the metropolitan areas of Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.
On Monday, all Heritage branches opened with new ‘Bye bye bank rage. Hello Heritage’ point-of-sale material encouraging customers to switch more of their accounts to Heritage. Adshel properties advertised the campaign on bus shelters.
These featured interactive screens where people waiting for a bus could vote on whether they loved their big bank or not.
Heritage also launched its 24-hour live banner ad campaign with MediaMind technology on Queensland’s premier news site, couriermail.com.au.
When a visitor clicked on the takeover banner ad, they were invited to enter their name, suburb and response to the question, ‘Do you love your big bank?’ choosing from three responses: ‘Yes’, ‘No’ and ‘When pigs fly’.
Once they answered, they were then introduced to Heritage Man, the star of Heritage’s TV commercial, live in a studio. Knowing the visitor’s response, the Heritage Man would throw a tomato or other fun missile at one of three targets with the response the visitor chose written on it, while engaging in some light-hearted banter.
Logistically, organising the tomato throw-in was a challenge. As well as sourcing tons of tomatoes, and props such as throwable toy chickens and plastic squirt guns, Heritage organised through MediaMind for #byebyebankrage hashtag Tweets to stream on the site, so those watching could also get involved.
Real tweets also ran on Heritage’s TVCs and Facebook pages. These weren’t live as ensuring people’s approval to use their tweets took time.
For Heritage Bank, the four-week tactical campaign was a major success, helping it to gain significant ground in its long-term goal to be a first choice bank for consumers in south-east Queensland.
Key campaign results measured on the MediaMind platform included:
- More than 1200 people registered and took part in the 24-hour live studio interactive ad,
- more than 5000 people visited the site simply to watch, spending an average of more than two minutes at the site, well above the industry benchmark, and
- more than 10,000 visited the byebyebankrage.com campaign m-site during the four-week campaign period.
Additionally, Colmar Brunton research found the campaign increased brand awareness and consumer interest in Heritage. In particular:
- Two-thirds of people recalled seeing the Heritage campaign and took away the key message that it is now easier to switch banks,
- 57% had a better understanding of what Heritage stands for,
- 49% were more positive about Heritage,
- 42% of consumers made a conscious decision to consider Heritage in the future,
- 44% said the campaign made Heritage Bank stand out from all other institutions, and
- 9% would tell friends and relatives about Heritage Bank.
But, most significantly, there was a 10% increase in the number of customers who switched to Heritage in the two months during and after the campaign, compared to the two months before it.
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