How New Zealand’s largest bank ANZ is pivoting the brand in its home-market

The Drum speaks to the team behind the launch of ANZ’s new platform and brand campaign in New Zealand, conceptualised to give Kiwis the practical ‘hows’ (or solutions) to their ‘whys’ (the things they want to accomplish).

In the financial services industry, an interesting trend found in the New Zealand market has been around people’s increasing aspirations for wanting to improve their financial wellbeing, even as they are grapple with figuring out the starting point of this journey.

A recent survey, commissioned by the leading financial player ANZ, found that post-Covid-19, New Zealanders feel wealth is more about knowing they can pay for things to help their family thrive. Further, the findings showed that almost 60% of people were planning to save or invest more for their future and 77% thought they could be doing better with their money. Adds Matt Pickering, general manager marketing at ANZ, “We could also see that they sometimes find communicating with their bank frustrating. People have their own reasons for wanting to do things and we could see that they wanted their bank to help them get there, not to tell them what to do.”

Towards giving the consumers practical tools and know-how, ANZ has set up a six-step financial wellbeing programme that is available to everyone. To further communicate this messaging, the brand has launched a two-minute lead film ‘We do How’ conceptualised by TBWA\NZ. The campaign tells the story of a young couple along with their two children and traces their journey over a period showing how ANZ supports the family and providing the ‘hows’ for their ‘whys’.

Not just a campaign but a new brand platform

“The new platform around the financial wellbeing is an ‘all of bank’ commitment for ANZ”, shares Pickering and thus called for something bigger than a campaign. The programme features a range of tips and tricks for people at various life stages and is freely available to everyone, not just ANZ customers.

Adds Shane Bradnick, chief creative officer, TBWA\NZ, “ANZ was looking for a holistic approach to the brand and an ‘all of bank’ initiative that would change the way it talks to its customers, beyond just an advertising campaign.

The launch ad sets up the new brand platform with the premise ‘if you have a why, we have the how’ where ANZ helps a modern Kiwi family, the Sharmas, get to their ‘whys’. Next, will be a suite of ads featuring the family, each demonstrating how all Kiwis can embark on the journey to financial wellbeing - including how to make a start, how to set a savings goal, and even how to pay off your home loan faster, shares Pickering.

Humanising the functional financial brand

Financial advertising, very often, is accused of being very cut-and-dry and any campaign that hinges purely on the financial aspect often struggles to engage without the human aspect. Bradnick says, “we were confident of having a powerful platform idea with ‘We Do How’ but the challenge was to land the message in a way that resonates with New Zealanders on a human level.” And in this journey, cricket helped to take the brand narrative forward.

Roping in cricket for the emotion and engagement

In the narrative of the campaign, the fact that cricket which is a sport that Kiwis are madly passionate about plays a key role is no coincidence. Cricket and the deep cultural connection that Kiwis have to sport was a key lever deployed for the story.

Says Pickering, “It leverages a long-standing ANZ sponsorship property, the New Zealand Blackcaps, to deliver the emotion and engagement.” Blackcaps incidentally is the nickname given to the New Zealand national cricket team. ANZ, on its part, has sponsored professional and grass-roots cricket in New Zealand for 20 years.

Making the brand relevant in a post-Covid world

Amidst lockdowns, various brands across categories have been working hard to pivot their models and offerings and become more relevant, for a changing customer profile. In ANZ’s case, the new platform reflects the new ways you can maintain a close relationship with your bank online, which is a solution that works just as well if not better in a lockdown, shares Bradnick. It’s also a way of showing Kiwis how ANZ has staff open and available to help through online channels, he adds.

The story behind the ‘story’ of the campaign

ANZ We Do How from TBWA\New Zealand on Vimeo.

The lead characters in the family of the two-minute launch film comprise a mixed Indian/Kiwi family which is an interesting pick considering it is for a local brand (also the nation’s largest bank) and even the new platform launch is largely for the NZ market only.

Elaborates Bradnick, “We wanted the brand work to tell a modern Kiwi story reflective of New Zealand’s cultural diversity, which is why we chose a mixed Indian/Kiwi family.”

There’s also a real story behind the story - it’s inspired by our creative director, Ashwin Gopal, he adds. Ashwin was born and raised in New Delhi, where he studied advertising, moving to New Zealand when he was 21.

In Ashwin’s own words, “everything in his life has led him to this campaign. An avid Indian cricket fan, Ashwin now has a Kiwi wife and two young children. His mother-in-law is the most hard-core Blackcaps fan, which gave him the insight that no matter how much of a Kiwi he’d become, he’d always be an Indian cricket fan. So, he asked himself, what would make him give up his Indian cricket fanhood? Thus began the story of Ravi and his son Sameer, the two protagonists of the campaign.”