Ad of the Week: Get unbanked
by Oresti Patricios (@orestaki) Commercial Bank of Africa, based in Nairobi, Kenya, has launched an app, called Loop, for millennials that promises to ‘unbank’ them. South African companies Halo and Star Films present a breakout, vibey, appealing TVC to motivate these young adults to use this system, rather than their bank branches or other online banking.
Millennials in Africa are an entrepreneurial, progressive bunch, according to the research I’ve read, and are only too happy to use whatever tools there are at their disposal to make their lives easier. To cater for them, and to help grow the Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) user base, the financial brand has brought in the experts to help create a service that recognises that millennials have different needs. Oh yes. The younger, wired generation need a different approach to banking.
The Loop mobile software is based on the idea of a smartphone app. Along with the app, users get a banking card that they pick up, not from a branch, but from a Loop Store. I read that these stores are slickly designed venues that feature vending machines and comfortable seating. The system integrates existing bank accounts with M-Pesa, the micro-transaction system so wildly popular in Kenya. Thanks to the app, you may pay your utility bills, save, invest and do a range of other online banking transactions.
CBA’s offering also provides the same sort of personal finance management system that has made South Africa’s 22Seven so popular. The functionality here includes budgeting and automated recording of spending, as well as financial goal-setting.
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The ad to promote this innovative financial solution is a fast-paced montage that tells the story of a few selected millennials who go about their lives. A high-energy piece of music drives the piece. The first part of the montage shows the youngsters pursuing their ‘passion projects’. So, in the ad, we see:
- a man working on a robot ‘hand’
- a woman baking a cake
- a man repairing a boat
- a dress designer working on her creation
- a man working on a muscle car
manwoman working on a rooftop garden
- a man practicing basketball in a dusty lot.
This is a great ad but the big question I’ve got to ask here is: Why are the women so typecast, and why are the men positioned as smart and nerdy? If there’s a flaw in the ad, it’s this. It’s about time that the ad industry got a little more gender-savvy.
Moving on. Each shot builds up a picture of the passion and dedication that these people put into their work. And every scene features a different light source, because these people are working at night. The shots get closer and closer, focusing in on the intense concentration and joy that they get out of what they are doing.
Even though it’s shot at night, the colour palette is rich with purples, yellows, blues and magentas. The scenes are not romanticised in terms of decor: you get a real sense of the gritty day-to-day life of these ‘ordinary’ people.
About halfway through, the scene changes to daytime: early morning. The palette becomes a little washed out and bland. The young men and women we got to know through their projects are now seen getting ready for work: dressed in suit and tie, corporate gear, walking through streets and into their places of work: factories and offices.
The high-energy music now becomes a little darker, echoing the frustration these people feel with their jobs. There are some heated interactions as the music builds to a climax, ending with closeups on the protagonists’ faces. The key actors look directly into camera, and the following words flash on screen: YOU LIVE TO WORK.
Directly after this, the film switches back to the night-time scenes — the passion projects. Here the words that flash over these scenes read: WE WORK TO LIVE.
The final text on the screen reads simply: Unbank yourself. CBA Loop.
What really makes this ad work is in the contrast between the workaday life and the passion projects of the subjects. By showing the latter first, it’s clear that work is secondary, a means to an end, to be able to go home and do those things that provide them with energy and a sense of purpose.
A stylish and powerful message that goes to the centre of its target market — great work by Halo and director Tristan Holmes of Star Films that speaks to a younger generation who want more than just a career — who want to craft meaningful lives.
Client: CBA Group, Loop (Kenya)
Client: Chris Pasha, Viola Kioko, Angela Muriuki, Charles Ndirangu
Agency: Halo (South Africa)
Creative director: Greg Harrison
Art directors: Hanneke du Toit, Jurgen Freese, Candice Bondi
Copywriters: Klara Sebright, Pakamani Mancotywa, Michelle Hollinger
Producers: Tanja Rae, Tania Neale
Client service: Akona Ndungane, Kagiso Lerutla
Production company: Star Films (South Africa)
Director: Tristan Holmes
Producer: Adam Thal
Audio: Markus Wormstorm
Post: Left Post Production
Ad of the Week, published on MarkLives every Wednesday, is penned by Oresti Patricios (@orestaki), the CEO of Ornico, a Brand Intelligence® firm that focuses on media, reputation and brand research. If you are involved in making advertising that is smart, funny and/or engaging, please let Oresti know about it at email@example.com.