Why Santander and Engine recruited MC Grindah for anti-fraud campaign

Engine won Best Financial Services Content Marketing Strategy at The Drum Content Awards 2019 with its ‘MC Grindah’s Deadliest Dupes’ campaign for Santander. Here, the agency reveals the challenges faced and the strategies used to deliver this successful project.

The challenge

Santander had already done fraud campaigns to reach well-known vulnerable audiences (60+) but we discovered the 18-24-year-old audience were just as vulnerable.

Santander’s fraud team were able to uncover the three scams that most commonly affect the 18-24 age group – ID theft, online scams and money muling – and found some pretty shocking statistics: the latest industry data showed that, in the last year, ID theft among people under 21 had risen by 26%, while 50% of money mules were aged 26 or under and 27% were aged 21 or under.

Santander’s own research showed that those aged under 25 are three times more likely to act on an instruction in scam correspondence, 85% have shared details on Instagram that could leave them open to ID theft, and a quarter have entered personal details on a website using unsecure WiFi.

Clearly an educational piece was missing around improving young people’s awareness of online fraud, but the challenge was how to achieve this with a hard to reach audience, in a way that wouldn’t read like a rulebook. The client’s objective key objective was to be recognised as a bank that is doing everything it can to help young people protect themselves against online fraud and scams. This meant increasing brand affinity, awareness, consideration and favourability amongst our 18-24-year-old target audience.

The strategy

We didn't have the huge spending power of our competitors for a big anti-fraud TV launch but knew this wasn't where our audience were looking. Instead, we concentrated all efforts on maximising social platforms where our audience is most active – Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube - creating engaging content that our audience would want to watch.

Our strategy was that of a trojan horse campaign – to create educational content that doesn’t feel educational. It’s worth remembering that this target age group is one that has grown up in the digital era, where sharing of information is encouraged – from the food they’ve eaten, to every big (and not-so-big) moment in their lives. For them, sharing feels like the natural thing to do. But as a bank, Santander knows that oversharing of information can have a dark side, and one that can be used against you, so it was important that whatever we created had to snap Millennials and Gen Z out of digital complacency.

The campaign

Why we recruited the stars of the fictional pirate radio station Kurupt FM (from the cult BBC comedy hit People Just Do Nothing) to front the three-part mini-series MC Grindah’s Deadliest Dupes where our self-proclaimed badman of pirate radio - MC Grindah - takes on the role of underground reporter and interviews some of Britain’s most notorious online criminals, at the same time unveiling the most common scams and frauds.

While we knew long form content would naturally engage Kurupt FM fans, we needed to find a way of making sure the films resonated beyond the programme’s core fan base to achieve our objectives. Alongside the three long form films therefore, we created additional teaser content optimised for key social channels as a way of expanding our reach; by partnering with Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube, we expect to reach at least 76% of 18-24 year old social media users by the end of September 2019, with the tailored content built to drive an immediate association between Santander and Kurupt FM, land the central fraud and scam awareness message, and encourage viewers to watch the full length episode on our online hub for further educational content.

Also key to this, was keeping the branding minimal but recognisable, to support our awareness and perception raising goals without shifting the focus away from the core message. That way, the content could become a common goal with key regulatory bodies in policing anti-fraud, allowing them to share the content further. It was important for Santander that their people felt proud of this campaign, so they released all the long form and social to staff ahead of the launch, encouraging them to share it from their own social media profiles.

Finally, we engaged Santander’s charity partner Barnardo’s to leverage their specialist reach and ensure we targeted those most at risk. Planned activity included social media posts, seasonal newsletters, fraud and scam workshops, a blog post and a news article on the Barnardo’s website.

The results

At just over a third of the way through the campaign, we have already reached 7.2 million 18-24-year-olds across Snapchat, YouTube and Instagram. However, to truly understand the impact of the campaign on our target audience, Santander have commissioned independent studies that will enable us to objectively measure the campaign performance.

The following results are taken from a mid-campaign YouGov survey of our audience:

• 51% of 18-24s polled felt more confident in their ability to identify and take steps to avoid potential online fraud and scams, a 3%-point increase on the pre-campaign survey. We also saw a 9% drop in those who don’t know.

• 25% of 18-24s polled rated Santander fairly to very high in terms of Santander actions regarding fraud awareness mid campaign, a 9%-point increase on the pre-campaign survey. We also saw a 10% drop in those who don’t know.

• 14% of 18-24s polled ‘love’ Santander, a 3%-point increase on the pre-campaign survey.

Dan Sherwood, interim chief marketing officer, at Santander said: “We're always looking at new ways to help reach people on the subject of fraud and scams. Given how much young people are being affected, we knew we had to do more to help. Our challenge was getting them to listen to us on what can feel like a pretty dry subject – we had to do something different and memorable.

“Our partnership with Kurupt FM allowed us to create content that is authentic and light-hearted, but with a serious message. We’re delighted with the results and the fact that more young people will be in a better position to protect themselves from the damaging impact of financial crime.”

This campaign was a winner at The Drum Content Awards 2019. If you think you can do better, register your interest in next year's awards.

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