Kiwbank encourages Kiwis to think outside the box by showing what life’s like inside it

Kiwibank has approached the daunting prospect of first-time home ownership with a humorous video that shows a young Kiwi couple living in a crudely fashioned home made out of cardboard boxes.

When the video starts, it seems as though it will just be a standard case study on a new offer from a bank, but the narrative quickly takes a turn toward satire with the introduction of Sally and Simon Brown’s cardboard home.

Once inside the cardboard home, the video turns into a Campbell Live parody, which includes an in-house interview, a shower demonstration and a tragic anecdote about a wall lost to the wind.  

Regan Savage, the head of brand and communications at Kiwibank, credits the idea to Assignment Group’s Chrissie LaHood, who he says wrote the script.

Once the initial creative groundwork was done, the bank approached Jason Stutter at Spooky Pictures to bring the concept to life. Savage says that Stutter and his team built the cardboard boxes from scratch and then filmed and edited the almost two-minute long video.       

Savage admits that the end result is far-removed from a standard bank ad, but he says, “We didn’t just want to throw out a 15-second television commercial that was loaded with technicalities. We think humour draws people in by catching their attention; it engages with people.”

And the reason why Kiwibank is keen to catch the attention of Kiwis is to re-encourage them to consider buying a home.

The legislative introduction of loan-to-value ratio (LVR) limits in October means that prospective homebuyers are now required to put down a 20 percent deposit to take out a mortgage for a residential property.  

First-time homebuyers, who rarely have the necessary cash lump sum on hand, were hit particularly hard by the rule change, and this has consequently dissuaded many from even attempting to purchase a new home.

Savage responds to pessimism in the market by saying, “There’s a lot of doom and gloom out there. But this video tries to say that we can help people. There are ways through it. And there is hope.”  

According to Kiwibank, several legislative guidelines could provide prospective homebuyers with alternative solutions that don’t necessarily require the 20 percent deposit.        

“It’s pretty hardcore financial stuff, so the purpose of the video is to ease people into the technicalities of how they can work out their options,” says Savage.

Rather than going into the technical details of the new rules and their exceptions, the video instead uses humour to pique the interest of homebuyers and then encourages them to find out further information about alternative options.

The video has been embedded on Kiwibank’s website, where it is accompanied by information on the solutions available to prospective homebuyers.

The ‘helping first home buyers get out of the box’ section of the website starts with three simple questions, which when answered result in viable options being highlighted. What then follows is a bullet-pointed list of explanatory points on each of the three options.

The simplicity of the website design is complemented by colloquial copy that avoids intimidating bank jargon in favour of approachable phrasing like, “Feeling a bit cramped by the minimum 20% deposit?”

In addition to the website and the video, Kiwibank has also distributed leaflets to its branches to make it easier for employees at the point of sale to explain the details to clients. 

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