Westpac to nation: ask and you shall receive

Following the ANZ-National fusion decision, there has been a seemingly endless stream of bank ads vying for New Zealand’s affection. And while Westpac has dabbled with a cheeky green vs. blue = red number and a bit of sneaky teaser hijacking, it’s kept its biggest pile of gunpowder dry until now, launching a new brand campaign by DDB last night that’s headed by a 90 second TVC imploring New Zealanders to start asking questions about money. 


When BNZ pulled open the curtain on its Be Good With Money campaign, chief marketing officer Craig Herbison said one of its goals was to bust some taboos, start a conversation about money and do something to improve New Zealand’s financial literacy stats. Whether the teaser campaign achieved that goal is up for discussion, but the same desire obviously exists for Westpac, as evidenced by a stat on its Facebook app showing that only four percent of Kiwis think they have a good understanding of how to manage money. 

The TVC execution, which features plenty of tingly patriotic/historic moments, a same sex union and the track ‘Dirty Paws’ by Of Monsters And Men (who, for all the music fans, are coming to New Zealand for Laneway next year), is top notch and ponders why we can ask the big questions but not the little ones about money. But in recent times, Westpac, like most of its competitors, has focused on doing more than just ads and trying to add utility to customers’ lives by creating a series of mobile apps and online calculators, most recently for its Home Club/TradeMe tie-up. And, tying in to its ’Help is what we do’ tagline, that’s continuing here with the Facebook app ”gathering the biggest questions Kiwis have about money so we can do something to help”, with the bank promising to share some of the answers on YouTube soon. 

  • Check out our interviews with Westpac’s Martine Jager and DDB’s Justin Mowday here.   

Unlike BNZ, which promised a conversation but just showed what kinds of products it had on offer to help customers, Westpac is soliciting customer involvement through its app, surveying visitors about whether they feel confident with their money and where their financial priorities lie. And while there is obviously a financial focus, the app also collates tweets to show what kind of questions New Zealanders are asking at the moment (for example: Is there alien life? But more importantly, why is there a ginger tinge in my beard?). Quite a few of them aren’t actually questions, like ‘The unfollow button is there for a reason’, and, as expected when there’s anything to do with Twitter, there’s a bunch of banality on offer, but it’s a nice extension. 

UPDATE: Here’s the creative blurb: 

Since the beginning of time we have questioned everything. Like, well, the beginning of time, for one. How did we get here at the very start of it all? And where do we go at the very end? Yet, for some reason we still can’t get comfortable with asking questions about our money, and how it can make for a smoother journey in between. In this multi-channel campaign, led off by a TV spot on Sunday, Westpac encourages all New Zealanders to ‘start asking’ questions about their money, so they can help with the answers.

Speaking of Westpac, its new Queen St branch has just been renovated. And it includes a Rescue Helicopter made of Lego, which was designed and built by Retail Dimension and is claimed to be the country’s largest Lego structure. 


Agency – DDB Group New Zealand

Client – Westpac 

Agency Contacts:

Executive Creative Director – Andy Fackrell

Copywriter /Art Director: Jonathan McMahon 

Art Director/copywriter: Lisa Fedyszyn 

Executive Producer: Judy Thompson

Agency Producer: Rosie Grayson

RAPP Tribal

Rob Limb: Managing Director

Paul Pritchard: Digital Services Director

Aaron Goldring: Creative Director

Ian Hulme: Digital Planner

Production Company: The Sweet Shop

Director: Noah Marshall

Producer: Tony Whyman

DOP: John Toon

Editor: Tim Mauger

Grade: Pete Ritchie @ Toybox

Online: Blockhead

Sound Production Co: Franklin Rd

Audio Engineer: Jon Cooper

Music: “Dirty Paws” Monsters and Men 

Group Business Director: Zoe Alden

Account Director: Jenny Travers 

Account Manager: Oliver Gould

Head of Planning:  Lucinda Sherborne

Planning Director:  Rupert Price

Client contacts:

General Manager of Marketing: Martine Jager

Head of Brand: Sharon Van Gulik

Senior Brand Manager: Michael Healy

Brand Manager: Rebeccah Reynolds

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