Mass media used to have all the power. But the rise of social media has meant that many individuals are now gaining huge audiences for themselves and stealing some of that power away. And brands around the world are increasingly leaning on them to help spread their messages. In this part of the world, they don't get much more popular than Jamie Curry, who hit ten million Facebook fans last year and has 1.5 million followers on YouTube. So, after working with Coca-Cola and Netflix, she's now signed up with Kiwibank to create The KB Series, a six-part series that will follow Curry on her journey from Napier to Auckland as she moves out of home and pursues her career in acting and producing entertaining content for her legion of fans.
Who is Jamie Curry? This clever 18 year old from Napier has over ten million fans on Facebook and is rated one of the most influential Kiwis online, alongside Lorde and Dan Carter. We’re going to be following her hilarious journey from moving out of her mum’s house to getting her own place in the big smoke. Stay tuned for more very soon…Posted by Kiwibank on Sunday, July 5, 2015
Curry, 18, has built an army of fans over the past three years with her comedic skits showcasing the ups and downs of her life as a school girl living in rural Napier, shared via multiple social media channels under the name Jamie’s World. And while the oldies often seem to struggle to understand what all the fuss is about and why anyone would find this kind of content interesting, she has created hundreds of episodes that teenagers relate to and she has rapidly become one of the most influential and recognised teenagers in the world. She was also recently noted as one of the most influential Kiwis on social media alongside Lorde and Dan Carter.
Banks are generally at the opposite of that coolness spectrum, so the KB Series, the first independent social media campaign produced by Kiwibank, is an attempt to weave the theme of financial literacy into some content the 18-25 age group might actually want to watch.
The series launched with a trailer today and the first full episode starts on July 20. The campaign will run for ten weeks. And if you needed any vindication of the strategy, the promo on Kiwibank's YouTube page has four views, compared to over 416,000 on Curry's Facebook page.
Of course, there are some issues around using influencers to spruik brands, such as flagging the endorsements as ads, and some have been pulled up on it overseas. The ASA released guidelines on social media advertising in 2012, but it can get a bit murky and part of the appeal with content marketing for brands is that it doesn't look like an ad. For the trailer, there's no mention of the Kiwibank association on Curry's Facebook page, although the YouTube description does mention the bank is involved (and there is a Kiwibank logo at the end of the clip).
Kiwibank has been asked how much it paid Curry, but we're not holding our breath for an answer. And in a release it says this type of deal epitomises the changing landscape of social media and content production, with Kiwibank developing and creating every piece of content with her alongside creative agency EightyOne and production company Stem Creative.
“We are delighted and proud to be leading innovative content with an influential person like Jamie," says Kiwibank’s general manager of marketing, Nicky Ashton in a release. "Our partnership with Jamie symbolises how relationships in media are changing and that the consumer wants to share a more genuine approach to content. Her refreshing and authentic delivery combined with her responsible and savvy outlook on life made her the perfect fit with Kiwibank."
The shared approach will continue during publication, with both Kiwibank and Jamie’s World sharing the trailers, episodes and exclusive content across YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.
The campaign will also feature interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and other content aimed at the 18-25 target audience and it will be housed on Kiwibank’s online platform, Inner.Kiwi, a hub for all of the bank's customer content as well as communications about what it means to be independent.
Kiwibank says this innovative approach is in keeping with previous campaigns, such as the Block Out Live game it released last year as part of its sponsorship of The Block NZ. It was a bingo-style game that was channelled via Facebook and introduced an interactive element to the TV show.
Kiwibank also teamed up with The Block NZ 2012 winner, Ben Crawford and his fiancée Kylie, with a 12 episode series capturing the highs and lows of their quest to build a home (Crawford has also been writing a regular series in the Herald on Sunday—and on his blog—about the process).
The relationship with Curry also marks the next phase of the independence campaign, which showcased some sweet moves from personal and business banking customers.
General Manager Marketing – Nicky Ashton
Head of Marketing Communications and Content – Regan Savage
Social Media Editor – Katie Byrne
Creative Agency: EightyOne
Account Manager - Steph Patton
Director – Matt West
Production agency: Stem Creative
Director - Glen Puklowski
Producer - Kat Lintott
DOP/Editor - Ben Forman
Talent Managers: Johnson and Laird Management
Manager – Anna Lawrence