From TVC to TV series: Kiwibank, TVNZ and Nigel Latta join forces to bring financial advice to primetime

Our relationship with money is typically something of an afterthought, generally restricted to advice columns and finance pages. However, Kiwibank is taking it mainstream in a new series called Mind Over Money with Nigel Latta, a fully funded series centred on the psychology of money.

“We’re very interested in New Zealanders having the best possible relationship they can with their money, understanding how to be in control of their finances, having a plan and being confident with their money,” says general manager of marketing Regan Savage.

And that ambition is not something that’s going to be achieved in a 30-second TVC during a programme, so the bank decided to create its own programme about the psychology of money fronted by Nigel Latta and produced by his company Ruckus Media.

The six-episode series will hit screens on 13 February at 8pm on TVNZ 1 and will be available for streaming on TVNZ OnDemand.

Having a single advertiser fund an entire series is not something TVNZ’s general manager of content solutions, Lyndsey Francis, has any record of and she commends the bank for being brave and taking the leap.

Kiwibank approached the broadcaster with the idea of a show about the psychology of money fronted by Latta, little over a year ago and since then, the two have been working closely to conceptualise and create a programme that delivers Kiwibank’s aim while peaking the audience’s interest.

The resulting series promises not to nag viewers about saving or opening a cheque account – instead, it delves deeper into the psychology of money and shares simple life hacks to making better financial decisions.

And while Kiwibank is responsible for the initial concept, Savage credits the partnership with TVNZ and Latta for turning it into a reality.

“It doesn’t get any better than us being able to be a part of this show, which talks about one of the issues that is not only important to Kiwibank but also to the wider New Zealand economy and everyone, and doing it in a way that is entertaining and engaging,” he says.

“That’s where partnering with an organisation like TVNZ and a media personality, like Nigel Latta comes into its own. Between [the three of]us, we can do something that none of us could do on our own.”

Savage describes the show as a combination of Latta’s serious content and the more entertaining Nigel Latta Blows Stuff Up, as it includes social experiments that bring to life behavioural economics in a “fun way”.

He says it trusted Latta and his team to “100 percent hold the pen on the tone of the show” because they understand it and have done it several times over.

Francis is also confident in Latta’s ability to make Mind Over money a success, saying he is someone New Zealanders trust, and will be a big draw card to win audiences despite the seemingly endless choice of content to watch.

She recalls an episode in his Hard Stuff series, which focused on sugar, saying it generated huge conversation the next day and drove behavioural change in many who tuned in.

“… and that’s the power a host and television can do. Kiwibank would want to do this too and that would be a great thing for us.”

With Kiwbank fully funding the show, one could expect to see its name and branding plastered all over the show, but that’s not the case with Mind Over Money.

Savage says it’s important it has the integrity of a TV show, so the decision was made to keep the branding on the light side.

There will be logos and appearances from the bank’s chief economist within the programme, but the real link between the Mind Over Money and Kiwibank will come from the campaign, via Assignment and OMD, surrounding the show and the supporting website audiences will be encouraged to visit.

Launching in February alongside the show, mindovermoney.kiwi will keep the conversation going by giving visitors more content and a chance to take part in polls and compare results, which is where Savage says the PR for Kiwibank will come out.

He says it will open the communication with potential customers and start new conversations with existing companies.

Despite Kiwibank’s light branding in the programme, Regan says Mind Over Money was about making the best use of the media and its marketing investment to communicate what Kiwibank stands for.

And when looking at the dollar-for-dollar investment on a minute-by-minute basis, Francis says a series is more efficient than making a TVC and distributing it.

Kiwibank’s investment into the programme remains under wraps, but looking at what NZ On Air has contributed to partially fund previous Nigel Latta shows, it’s not a decision the bank would have made lightly.

Nigel Latta Blows Stuff Up received $768,430 for eight half-hour episodes, The Hard Stuff With Nigel Latta 2 received $1,361,790 for eight, one-hour episodes and The Hard Stuff with Nigel Latta received $749,787 of funding for its six, one-hour episodes.

These numbers provide at least some perspective as to how much Kiwibank would’ve spent on the six half-hour slots Mind Over Money will occupy. 

But it’s not the first time Kiwibank has dabbled in TV programmes, as it’s previously sponsored a few seasons of The Block NZ. However, this time, it wanted to create something that is much closer to its own purpose.

Francis says TVNZ has great success with My Kitchen Rules and Kiwi Living in having sponsoring brands show off or demonstrate a product, but in the case of Mind Over Money, it’s not about a product, but rather about starting a conversation with the audience.

Offering brands a chance to branch out of traditional marketing methods is an ever growing strength of TVNZ, as it’s demonstrated in its TVNZ OnDemand Shorts section, which has already seen Microsoft and Frucor jump on the bandwagon.

Last year, Francis told StopPress one of the benefits of producing content for online is that it doesn’t have to fit an audience slot, so there are opportunities to push the boundaries and try something new.

However, in the case of Mind Over Money, the primetime slot on TVNZ 1 is well suited both for the theme and Nigel Latta’s appearance. It will also follow on from Fair Go, which Francis says has a strong relevance in terms of where Mind Over Money is going.

And once the show has aired, the content will be available in a shorter, cut down form to be used in Kiwibank’s own assets.

While we’re yet to see how successful Mind Over Money proves to be, Kiwibank and TVNZ are already championing their partnership as a great success.

Savage says it trusted TVNZ to tell its story in a compelling way it could never have imagined, while Francis commends the bank for speaking to TVNZ early and having a clear idea about what it was doing it as a brand and business, and what it wants to achieve.

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