Earlier this year, Kiwibank entered new territory as it moved away from a traditional advertising campaign and instead created a primetime TV series, called Mind Over Money with Nigel Latta in collaboration with TVNZ and Ruckus. So did it deliver?
According to TVNZ’s figures, the first four weeks of the show saw an average audience of 436,000 people tune into each episode while online it became the ‘most favoured’ OnDemand show with over 40,000 streams of the first two episodes in the first two weeks.
Savage adds it also won its time slot in the first three weeks only to then lose out to My Kitchen Rules and the new season of The Bachelor.
“It certainly delivered from our perspective,” he says, looking across ratings and the response it’s had.
Even before it went to air, the series was generating plenty of conversation in the media, with Nigel Latta making appearances on Breakfast and chatting to Newstalk ZB about behavioural economics. However, for all the good PR, there were commentators questioning the bank’s intentions and whether or not Mind Over Money would be a dragged out infomercial, something Savage is confident it's proven not to be.
“We were very specific from the get go about creating a show that stood alone as a successful TV show versus creating a campaign that goes around that show. By keeping those distinct, we achieved the goal of making a great show and a campaign without diluting either,” he says.
- See StopPress' coverage of the series launch here.
Throughout the series, Kiwibank was careful not to oversaturate things with branding, instead opting to minimise it to a 'Proudly Partnering with Kiwibank' message and inclusion of its chief economist Zoe Wallis (although that was Ruckus' idea). For those watching closely, there was also a fair bit of green used throughout the show (it's obviously read up on the behavioural economics principle of priming).
The main link between the bank and the Mind Over Money was then shown in a wider campaign surrounding the series by Assignment Group and OMD.
In this respect, Ruckus considers the bank to be ahead of the pack when compared to other brands, as it understands the importance of telling a story and creating content that will engage audiences and keep their attention rather than bombard them with branding.
Following Mind Over Money going to air, one of Ruckus’ founders and the series' presenter Nigel Latta told Idealog that despite branded content’s growing popularity as a solution for brands, it often fails to engage the audience. He said, if you're going to make a TV show, it has to be a TV show.
“You don't want to be a thing on YouTube that people are clicking away from. You don't want to be the ad on top. You want to be the thing underneath that people are trying to get to. That's what Kiwibank got out of it. They got that the best thing is to let us do what we do really well and then people will watch it and people are going to come,” Latta said.
And Kiwibank's stats from its first few weeks prove the series was capable of just that, with 76 percent of those who tuned in enjoying Mind Over Money.
68 percent of those watching also found it to be relevant, while 61 percent found it contained new information about money, 52 percent associated it with Kiwibank and 45 percent thought they would be able to change the way they manage their money off the back of the show.
Savage adds the sentiment around the series shows its customers saw it as Kiwibank delivering on its brand promise to make Kiwis better off.
“They really drew the connection between what we stand for and why we were investing in a primetime TV show like this and again, that’s a real win for us because we didn’t need to explain it to anyone, it just felt incredibly obvious to consumers that Kiwibank would be the kind of brand to create a show like this and take it to market.”
But it wasn’t just existing customers that saw the value in the Mind Over Money as the traffic on the series associated website, mindovermoney.kiwi, included non-Kiwibank customers.
The website was created to keep the conversation going beyond the TV by giving visitors more content and a chance to take part in polls and compare results. It also opens the communication between the bank’s existing customers and potential customers.
And while there are no specific figures about how many of the visitors were not Kiwibank customers, Savage says it’s had thousands of people take part in the Pulse of the Nation quiz, watch the videos, consume the content and then use the platform to contact the bank about products and services.
“This TV show was quite a step up from what we’ve done before in terms of taking actionable information about money and making it accessible and feel a lot more relevant than a pamphlet about budgeting,” he says.
The website will soon be a repository for the series as the bank gains access to the full episodes on 4 April. Savage says it will continue to leverage the content and weave it into customer conversations and interactions where relevant.
One way it’s already put the content to use in a new way was recreating one of the included experiments at Auckland’s waterfront, where passersby were asked: is all water the same no matter the bottle? Would you take the easy way out and take the $5 or complete a task for $20? Would you share your money with a complete stranger or keep it all for yourself?
Members of the public put their 'weirdness with money' to the test and video from the activation was then shared online.
Turning the website into a repository for the series will not be the first change it's seen since conception. In fact its adjustments have been Savage’s biggest learning curve.
As the series got underway and traffic poured in to the website, it monitored the data and user journey, allowing it to restructure the site accordingly. Savage says it's working to make sure it’s driving users as efficiently as possible to the content that is most relevant to the most people.
He says you need to be flexible when the data comes in and it was sure to build the website in such a way that things could be moved around.
The other advice he has for other brands looking to take a similar path is to be sure of what you want to do and achieve.
“It would simply be to have a very good sense of what you’re about as a brand and to make sure – as you would for any big marketing investment – to be really specific about what you want the viewer or consumer of the content to take away.”
It’s this, and the trust Kiwibank had in TVNZ and Ruckus, that he credits to Mind Over Money’s success as a stand-alone TV series, rather than an infomercial in disguise.
He says TVNZ and Ruckus were just as invested as it was in making sure it was creating a quality TV series for the viewers and knew the importance in being transparent and authentic.
With so much to be proud of from Mind Over Money’s performance, eyes will now be on the bank and whether or not it will do it again.
Savage didn’t shy way the question of a future series, however he says it wouldn't do it for the sake of it, it would have to make sure it had a really relevant point to make.
He says it’s worth considering another series on the basis of how well the first has been received, but TV audiences naturally want something new every time, so anything more would have to be fresh and compelling. But given the improvements that need to be made to financial literacy in New Zealand, creating a show about money that people actually enjoy seems like a good way to do it.