The problem with statistics and is that they rarely carry a tangible representation of the amount signified. Millions, billions, even trillions of dollars are so often quoted in mass media that their meanings have been diluted into abstractions far removed from the lives of those who haven't been fortunate enough to inherit the Rothschild or Rockefeller family names.
So, in an effort to show that Kiwis who hold mortgages pay $6 million in interest every four hours, BNZ has launched a new campaign via Colenso BBDO in which that amount of money has been shredded and put on display in Auckland's Aotea Square from 29 September to 1 October.
This outdoor activation is being supported across various channels, with a TVC, a Facebook campaign and YouTube clips that all use the shredded money as a provocative reminder of the amount of money that Kiwis burn through their mortgage repayments every day.
BNZ's chief marketing officer Craig Herbison says that the latest video uploaded to the BNZ Facebook page this morning has attracted over 20,000 views, and he adds that the campaign as a whole has already received over 540,000 online impressions.
This response has also coincided with vigorous web-based debate, which in typical online fashion has included varied topics such as New Zealand's poverty issues, BNZ's interest rates, the philosophical underpinnings of the value we attach to paper, and the environmental impact of "toxic plastic stuff" blowing around.
Herbison did however emphasise that this wasn't a case of "BNZ shredding money that belongs to clients," but rather part of a normal process periodically conducted by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand to remove damaged or worn cash from circulation.
Herbison says that the campaign has been initiated in order to draw attention to the various ways in which BNZ customers can reduce the amount of interest they pay over the course of their home loans.
“As a leader in the banking sector, BNZ is going to do something about this," said Herbison in a release. "One way BNZ can help New Zealanders to be good with money is by educating them on ways they can shred their home loan interest and become mortgage-free sooner. Just making small increases in your home loan repayments can make a huge difference to the total interest you end up paying over the life of a home loan. There are a number of ways Kiwis can shred their mortgage interest.”
He also says that making simple changes such as being on fortnightly payment plan means that customers make two additional payments every year, and that this helps to reduce the overall impact of interest over an extended period of time.
In addition to simple didactic tips geared at helping Kiwis "be good with money," BNZ is also using the campaign to promote its 'Tailored Home Loan,' which is said to "shred up to $156,000 of interest off a $300,000 home loan, in comparison to a standard 30-year table loan, by making small increases every year in repayments."
And while the campaign is being trumpeted as a means by which save Kiwis money, it is also part of the bank's strategy to keep current clients and attract new home buyers to its offering.
This is particularly important in the New Zealand context on account of the willingness of Kiwis to switch banks. In 2012, research from Roy Morgan showed one in ten people changed banks over a 12-month period, up nearly 100,000 from the previous year. And this trend was particularly pronounced among mortgage holders, with a Horizon Research poll conducted around the same time showing that of the 1165 residential homeowners with mortgages surveyed, 43.5 percent believed they would go shopping for better rates or loan conditions within the next 12 months. 2013 saw a continuation of this trend, with customers again switching banks, and the numbers were even more pronounced on account of National Bank customers weighing up their options after the merger with ANZ.
Herbison says that the campaign has been launched at this stage, because around this time of the year, those either in or looking to enter the housing market tend to start shopping around for the best available options, and he believes that the 'Tailored Home Loan' provides a point of difference that will appeal to clients and prospective clients.
According to Nielsen's latest homeownership statistics, 50 percent of New Zealanders aged 15+ own their own home (1,772,000 people). And of the homeowners in New Zealand, 53 percent own their home with a mortgage (934,000) and 46 percent own their home with no mortgage (819,000).
A Radio New Zealand article stated earlier this year that BNZ had a 15.9 percent share (worth about $29.6 billion) of the mortgage market, which placed it behind ANZ (with $57.88 billion) and ASB (with $41.23 billion) but ahead of Kiwibank, which holds about seven percent of the market at $13.12 billion.
Herbison wouldn't say how many of BNZ's current clients hold a mortgage, but he'll hope that this campaign helps to consolidate the bank's share of the market.
- The title of this story has been updated to reflect that BNZ did not shred the money. This can only be done by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.
Group Account Director
Senior CRM Planner
Louise Wright – Porter Novelli
Bank of New Zealand
BNZ Chief Marketing Officer
BNZ Head of Marketing Communications
BNZ Communications Manager
BNZ External Relations Manager
Alex Roberts - FINCH
Rebekah Kelly - FINCH
Shane Taipari - Franklin Rd
DOP / Cinematographer
Online Editor (visual effects
Andrew Timms – Beryl
Post Production (VFX Co.)
Music – Artist / Title
Jonathan Dreyfus / Woodcock