At this time of year, many university students are looking forward to heading back to the family ranch, regularly opening the fridge to marvel at all the food inside and, possibly, attempting to dry out after a torrid year of mind expansion/erosion. They—and their secondary school friends who are about to embark on the next phase of education—probably aren't thinking too much about banking. But ASB and Saatchi & Saatchi are dangling a few carrots with a new 50's-inspired online video campaign to promote its tertiary accounts.
Shane Evans, ASB's head of brand and campaigns, sees the annual tertiary push as a really exciting one because it's such a targeted audience, and, as a more liberal group, there's more scope to push the creative boundaries.
"We try to raise the bar every year," he says. "We wanted to have something really simple and we wanted to do something a bit different. And the academic style from the '50s has got a cool retro feel to it," he says. And, as this interesting New York Times article about our culture of inescapable irony points out, ye olde times certainly seem to be popular with the kids these days.
Parents are often looked upon as little more than a bank by some students, and Evans says they also share another similarity: it never works when banks try to talk like students or try to act cool, so, wisely, the campaign is based around something they can relate to: set up an account, get cheap movie tickets.
In keeping with ASB's push towards offering more utility through its mobile apps and other digital offerings, and given the huge uptake of mobile phones in this demographic, he says the bank has made setting up the right account as easy as sending a txt. The series of videos are also purposely short and optimised for viewing on mobile, because for this age group, "everything they do is on their smartphone".
But while there is certainly a sense of whimsy about the videos (for example, the credits: Smythe-Tompkinson, Arthur, Professor: Heated Maize Kernels, Carbonated Liquids and Moving Pictures, Journal of Irrelevant Studies, 1973), Evans says it's not just being done for fun's sake. There is a reason for them and there's a very clear focus on the products ASB offers, from Facebook banking to to Save the Change to flat accounts (one card for each flatmate? Dangerous).
Of course, it's important for banks to hook 'em young and this campaign, combined with the more traditional campus marketing scheduled for the new year, aims to do just that.
Debbie Lowe – Senior Campaigns Manager
Shane Evans – Head of Brand & Campaigns
Anna Curzon – GM of Brand Experience and Digital Channels
Creative: Slade Gill, Phil Hicks/Arnya Karaitiana, John Darby/Graeme Taylor-Warne, Sam Stradwick
Account Service: Louisa Mikkelson, Anna Samson, John Maloyd
Digital Production: Lorraine Guerin