Inside NatWest's playbook for using gaming to teach kids financial lessons
Zentih Media won the ‘Finance and Professional Services’ category at The Drum Awards for Marketing 2021 with its ‘Gaming in lockdown’ campaign for NatWest. Here, the team behind the winning entry reveal the secrets of this successful project….
As the nation went into lockdown, parents were in crisis mode and NatWest’s longstanding Moneysense in Schools programme looked to be facing an indefinite hiatus. Knowing that Financial Education is imperative for Britain’s next generation, NatWest wanted to help the nation adapt.
At Zenith, we knew how hard parents had it trying to homeschool, and all too often, waging a losing battle against gaming. We have all been there as parents; you think your child is on Google Classroom and actually they’re playing Fortnite. The nation’s parents were in despair.
We felt NatWest, with its roots in financial education, could help the nation and our children, as well as driving uptake of young customers. We needed to repackage our MoneySense experience for a lockdown audience.
The gaming landscape was our start point. What if we could create an experience that picks up where Moneysense left off (teaching kids about money), but also appealed to gaming-mad kids? Something fun that kids wanted to play, but went down well with parents, too.
So, we created our most ambitious piece of digital experiential yet. Island Saver, a game where kids rack up points (‘savings’) by taking over islands one-by-one. The acquisition element would go down well with the Fortnite and Roblox generation, while also teaching kids about financial decision making.
But we knew we had our work cut out in driving interest among kids as 70% of games suggested by parents are rejected. We needed to speak to 7-14 year olds themselves.
Suddenly, our competitors weren’t Barclays and Lloyds, but Roblox and Fortnite, popular games with much bigger budgets!
We know kids have no interest in hearing from banks, and with the restrictions around marketing to children we knew we needed to borrow voices and credibility to cut-through so we decided on a highly relevant gaming influencer-first approach. Partnering with a credible and fun gaming influencer who created authentic, high energy content, we set about generating hype around the launch. We worked with popular gaming YouTuber, Yammy, to demo and review the game to her 2.54m followers and over the following weeks we continued to promote the launch in relevant contexts.
We also needed to ensure a strong presence on the platforms themselves. This was achieved through a combination of paid ads and working closely with the developers to maximise search visibility on mobile app stores, Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo Switch. All ads had a simple click-to-download function on both PCs and consoles, making it quick and easy to download the game.
The goal here wasn’t to drive current accounts or mortgages, but to increase kids’ affinity to NatWest, whilst also making them more financially aware. Plus, we knew it was in all our interests to ease the parent pain of homeschooling during lockdown.
The experiential game was downloaded two million times in lockdown, forty times higher than we thought was even possible! Those downloads were good for business, too. Kids bank account queries made up 5 of the top 10 searches to NatWest product pages in 2020, representing a 117% increase in clicks YoY.
This project was a winner at The Drum Awards for Marketing 2021. Find out which competitions in The Drum Awards are currently open and don’t forget to visit our new interactive calendar.
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