by MarkLives (@marklives) We feature insight into the brief, creative idea and production challenges of the current #NedbankMoneySecrets campaign from Joe Public, Riverbed, The Mediashop, The Odd Number, Digitas Liquorice and director Greg Gray of Romance Films.

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Client: Nedbank
Agencies: Joe Public, Riverbed, The Mediashop, The Odd Number, Digitas Liquorice
Title: Nedbank Money Secrets

Nedbank Money Secrets: Movie posters (streetpole phase 1)Information supplied by Nedbank.


The brief was to create a brand engagement piece that would get the nation talking about money. As money experts, Nedbank recognises that, when you want to address social issues or even when you want to improve yourself, the best place to start is by speak honestly about issues at hand.

We wanted to create a piece of communication that would show the entire nation that money doesn’t need to be a taboo subject. We know it can be hard for anyone to talk about money and their relationships with it — some research findings have highlighted that 62% of people would rather talk about their body weight than their bank balance — but we want people to start having those tough conversations. We want South Africans to get real about money and to talk about the issues that affect all of us. Our nation is one of the most-indebted in the world and, despite ongoing campaigns by industry bodies and banks, such as the annual savings month focus, South Africans just don’t seem to be able to get themselves out of debt and into a savings habit.

As a purpose-led brand (our brand promise is to help people “see money differently”), we want to bring all these issues to the fore, and let South Africans know that we are very aware of the money challenges that many of them face. We know that money plays a big part in every person’s life and the challenges it creates can be highly stressful.

So, we invested a huge amount of time and resources into understanding why money is such a taboo subject, and how this reticence to speak openly about money has resulted in so many of us having such a poor relationship with it, and as a result, with our banks. Ultimately, the message we want to get across through this campaign is simple: It’s time we all start talking about money and, by doing so, we can hopefully start to see it differently in our everyday lives.

This campaign is not intended to be a quick fix, and it isn’t about creating a platform from which we can promote our products. It’s an honest effort to take South Africans on a journey towards opening up about money, having the hard conversations, and asking the questions that need to be asked. Even though some of the conversations may involve distressing secrets, we want people to feel safe to share them and begin their new money relationships. We also want to share positive money ‘secrets’. Secrets to being better with our money. Secrets to financial success.

For us at Nedbank, this campaign is just the beginning of a much bigger conversation that all South Africans need to be having and we are passionate about facilitating that conversation.

Creative summary

We believe that the first step towards better financial behaviour is to start talking about our money and we hope that this campaign will be the catalyst that gets those discussions underway. To do that, it highlights some pretty serious money statistics in a way that really captures people’s attention — something that static numbers on a page seldom succeed in doing. Instead, we have chosen to bring this important information to life by telling compelling stories about ordinary South Africans in a short film.

While we were very excited about setting out on this campaign journey, initially we were also relatively apprehensive. This is a bold and adventurous undertaking, and few of us have been involved in short-film production before. We turned to Hollywood and ended up having a huge amount of fun mimicking the world’s big movie launches, eventually resulting in comprehensive launch of our own, complete a movie trailer, poster and premiere at Nu Metro Hyde Park. [None of the guests, from celebrities to media, realised the ‘movie’ was actually a 15-minute short-film commercial until the reveal towards end of the screening — ed-at-large.]


Despite the initial apprehension, we believe that film is the best medium by which to captivate our audience through compelling story telling. Our film tells the tales of three ordinary South Africans, Ben, Amanda and Sizwe, who are burdened by their own unique money secrets. We are confident that South Africans who watch the short film become emotionally invested in these characters and their secrets. In this way, that the money statistics we are sharing should truly hit home in a way that would not have been possible with a print media advert or a 30-second radio or TV commercial.

From the initial briefing, to the completion of the movie, the entire process has taken about 18 months. It’s one of the biggest and most-rewarding creative campaigns we, and our agencies (see credits below), have ever worked on.

There have obviously been challenges along the way, but with the help of director, Greg Gray, and his team at Romance Films, we have succeeded in producing a campaign that we are not only immensely proud of but that we are confident will have a massive impact.

Duration & resources

In July 2019, the campaign began running for six weeks across media channels, TV trailers, TTV trailers, OOH, digital and radio. The film premiered on Thursday 18 July and has been flighted on SABC 2,, eMOVIES, ShowMax and VIU.





Creative agency: Joe Public
PR and communication: The Riverbed Agency
Media-buying agency: The Mediashop
Digital media agency: The Odd Number
Digital agency: Digitas Liquorice

Production & post-production

Lead actors: Brett Williams (Ben), Rolanda Marais (Ben’s wife), Hlubi Mboya (Ben’s business partner), Lindiwe Dim (Amanda), Peter Mashigo (Sizwe), Faniswa Yisa (Sizwe’s wife)
Production company: Romance Films
Director: Greg Gray
Executive producer: Helena Woodfine
Director of photography: Paul Gilpin
Production art directors: Will Boyes, Keenan McAdam
Wardrobe stylists: Bridget Baker, Sandra Smit
Editor & company: Kobus Loots/Ricky Boyd, Deliverance Post
Visual effects company: Chocolate Tribe
Music company/composer/sound: Mad Planet/Nicholas Wright
Post-production online: Jean du Plessis, Chocolate Tribe
Post-production offline: Kobus Loots/Ricky Boyd, Deliverance Post
Colourist: Craig Simonetti
Makeup & hair: Annette Van Staden, Shiralee Maclachlan
Art buyer: Tammy Chetty
Stills photographer: Justice Mukheli
Stills retoucher: Simon Keeling/Imaginality Studio and George Greyling/Pixel Effects


MarkLives logo#Campaigns is the latest MarkLives column featuring insight into the brief, creative idea, production challenges and results of South African communication campaigns, both ongoing and recent. Have a campaign worthy of being featured in #Campaigns? Submit a short motivation to 2mark and we may well be in touch. Please include links to campaign material, when it ran/is running and why you believe it should be featured.

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