Reserve Bank and FCB bring new meaning to digital currency with Brighter Money campaign

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand launched a swanky, interactive website built by FCB to show off New Zealand’s new bank notes. But, it’s more than just a website, it’s also the centre of a wider campaign around the roll out of our new paper (or rather, plastic) which spans over several other mediums.

The Reserve Bank approached FCB and discussed how it might launch the product, says Reserve Bank communications advisor Vivienne Sanders.

“It was a collaboration between RBNZ communications, Knowledge Services and FCB. Communications managed the content, Knowledge Services managed the project and infrastructure and FCB built the site,” she says.

“One idea that was floated was a Brighter Money website hub and there’s three phases of that. The first phase was launched in November 2014 and that was a static site which was an information site about the new bank notes, so it was priming the market and the public about what was coming.”

The static site also featured the differences between the series six and seven [current]bank notes, she says.

The interactive website, was phase two. “Then we worked with our advertising agency [FCB] to build the new website which is interactive, using dynamic web technology.”

Sanders says phase three will entail adding coloured versions of the $20, $50 and $100 notes to the website around the time of their release in April next year. The $5 and $10 notes have been in circulation since last week.

The website has some pretty cool features. Visitors can click on images of the notes and drag their mouse to see them from different angles, including the reflective nature of the holographics. It’s also educational, as the origins and meaning behind the icons on the notes are explained.

The site was launched on September 1 at the Reserve Bank Museum and Education Centre in Wellington by Prime Minister John Key.

“So we are really rapt with what we’ve been able to achieve and essentially it provides an educational platform campaigning for the bank notes and it tells the stories behind the bank notes in terms of the icons represented and the security features, so we’ve been able to get our key messages across … in a fun and interactive way.”

The notes on the website aren’t scans of real notes, she says, they were made graphically. “ … that was quite a big job as well. So it looks really very, very similar to what a bank note looks like but it’s not actually the bank notes.”

The campaign has also been pushed out through online banners, radio ads, print and other mediums, which all complement the site and direct people there. “We’ve also got resources for banks and retailers and the public, with downloadable pdfs. So that’s why we call it a hub,” she says.

The new notes are brighter, with the notes’ value shown in larger print. There’s also a greater colour contrast between notes. But they are the same size and are made of the same material.

“The most obvious new feature will be a large holographic window on the right-hand side of the note. This window includes an image of a bird, a map of New Zealand, a silver fern and an embossed numeral of the note’s denomination,” she says.

“Other features include a new colour-changing bird on the left-hand side of the note. As you tilt the note, a rolling bar goes diagonally across the bird. On the reverse of the note, in the same spot, you will see a smaller effect in the fern window.” 

The themes are also the same, with the same respected New Zealanders and the Queen, but additional te reo Māori has been added.

More security features have also been added. A larger window has been included with metallic detailing and a small ‘puzzle number’ lines up when the note is held to the light. Raised ink also continues to be a feature of the banknote, overlaid in the words and numerals.

The Reserve Bank makes initial decisions about the colour, wording and sizes of each denomination based on public surveys and expert advice, the Reserve Bank website says.

Designers then draw up concepts to incorporate the various features of the note and then the designs are assessed by a range of people including security experts, bank note equipment manufacturers and design, history and cultural experts, to ensure they enhance security, are aesthetically pleasing and reflect New Zealand’s culture and history.

We have been in communication with the account executive from FCB in charge of this project, and we will update the story when we receive responses.

See our story on a design perspective on the new notes here.

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