Instant Finance and Contagion have launched the 'Makers of Possible' campaign, where its key message to Kiwis is that it is here to help them make their dreams possible.
The new 30-second TVC shows an acrobatic hippopotamus performing a range of spins, slides and flips while ice skating. In the background, an earnest male voice speaks philosophically about overcoming financial impossibilities.
He speaks vaguely about dealing with finances; getting help when things aren't going so well, taking care of unexpected bills or helping out with a family emergency. The ad finishes with the sentiment ‘if money is standing in the way of something you need, talk to Instant Finance, because who are we to say what is impossible’.
The campaign holds a theme that Instant Finance is the 'Maker of Possible' by showing something outside the realm of possibility (a hippo on ice) to demonstrate that applying for a loan is also not impossible.
It was the first collaboration between Instant Finance and Contagion and according to managing director Dean Taylor, the pitch for the work last year was ‘huge’ as it competed against ten other agencies. Furthermore, Taylor says its success was due to its different viewpoint.
Taylor was conscious of the contentious strategy previously adopted by Instant Finance and wanted to change tact.
“We felt that their previous work was playing on the ethnicity of people and personally thought that was wrong, everybody can be in financial trouble and by pointing out people’s ethnicity they were excluding a wider New Zealand audience.”
Looking back at previous Instant Finance campaigns, its recently acquired hippo is a far cry from its previous frontman: iconic New Zealand Warriors rugby league star Stacey Jones. Since 2010, Jones fronted many advertisements for the loan lending company, which also, lent itself to scrutiny.
Many argued Jones was a large influencer to low socio-economic groups and was adopted by Instant Finance in a wider strategy to lure a vulnerable demographic into lending money.
A notable example was the petition, ‘Come on Stacey! Let’s tackle debt!’, which called on Jones as an opinion leader to Maori and Pacific communities to stop endorsing a crippling debt collecting system. Despite the claims, there were few complaints to the ASA and none were upheld.
Taylor further adds it felt it was wrong to target a particular group of society, and that we could all find ourselves in a situation where we may need a loan at some point. He says the ad was a metaphor for people who are in need of help.
Instant Finance chief executive Richard de Lautour says the company is founded on dignity and respect for the people it serves that are manifested in the long-term relationship enjoyed with the families the company helps.
“Instant Finance is proud of its record of helping tens of thousands of Kiwis in their time of need. Needing money, you do not have for emergencies can leave you feeling profoundly vulnerable, which is why respect and dignity are at the core of our lending and business values.
“It is also profoundly empowering to have access to the funds you need to make your dreams come true. Life is more than paying bills, but attaining fulfilment does not always come cheap.”
While it can be empowering to receive money in the bank, it can also be stifling. With interest rates ranging from 19.95 percent to 29.95 percent compiled to the owed debt, and a maximum term of three years to pay it off, it’s important that this element is educated to the individuals and families receiving the crisp legal tender.
De Lautour says, it has many repeat customers, with a loyal customer base that often spans multiple generations.
"A key driver of this is the time we spend with our customers to understand their lifestyle, spending habits, possible budgeting constraints and a repayment plan that works.”
With 26 branches including an online department which lends out directly to customers, the company services around 30,000 customers per year with loans between $200 and $20,000. The average loan is around $4000 on an average of 26 months.
Additionally, all Instant Finance loans are advanced on full principal and interest repayment structure which account for risk, affordability, stability and history (RASH).
Although it is unsure whether Contagion and Instant Finance will continue to work together - Taylor points to the strong feedback.
“It has had an incredibly positive response, both TVNZ and MediaWorks have contacted us directly to say it’s one of the best ads they have seen in a long time.”