Google wants to be your bank; Renault’s 30-year love story; and a Brave new browsing world

Google to enter banking business in partnership with Citigroup

As if Google didn’t have enough of your data, it’s reportedly working on ways to get your banking details as well. According to The Wall Street Journal, the tech giant is poised to enter personal banking next year, launching checking accounts with Citigroup and a credit union at Stanford University.

Code-named Cache, the project will place its financial partners’ names front and centre on the accounts“And Google will leave the financial plumbing and compliance to the banks—activities it couldn’t do without a license anyway.”

Google could use the business as a way to obtain additional customer data. “[Checking accounts] contain a treasure trove of information, including how much money people make, where they shop and what bills they pay,” said the report.

This move is unlikely to assuage consumer misgivings about big tech’s increased incursion into their daily lives, but a recent survey of U.S. consumers by McKinsey & Co. found that 58% of people would trust financial products from Google—behind Amazon but ahead of Silicon Valley rivals Apple and Facebook.

Renault tells a love story 30 years in the making 

The buzziest ad of the week goes to Renault and Publicis Poke. “Thirty years in the making,” is essentially a love story between two women told over three decades, with a Renault Clio playing an important supporting role in bringing them together.

The spot starts in the ’90s with two young girls—one English, the other French—meeting and becoming best friends. Over time, the friendship grows into love, but it takes years before the barriers of distance and social expectation can be overcome and they can finally be together. It’s a great piece of film—and LGBTQ Twitter loves it—but it’s also the kind of modern creative that sparks debate about effectiveness for the brand. How does a love story help sell cars?

Here’s how the client, Adam Wood, marketing director at Renault UK, explained it: “We wanted to humanise and celebrate, not just thirty years of progress of the Renault Clio, but also the progress made within culture, society and life in that time. The Renault Clio is as in tune with the times today as it always has been.” — D.B.

It’s a Brave new web-browsing world

The privacy-first browser Brave officially launched today for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS, with the pledge “You deserve a better internet”  The beta version attracted 8 million monthly users.

According to, Brave will prioritize security by automatically blocking third-party advertising, trackers and auto-play videos. While ad blocking poses a major threat to publishers and creators, Brave has developed a possible work-around called Brave Ads.

The browser rewards users for their attention to “privacy respecting” ads—which are presented outside of web content as push notifications—by rewarding them with so-called Basic Attention Tokens (BAT). User data never leaves their device, with machine-learning used to provide personalized and relevant ads. Participants can also adjust the number of ads they’re shown each hour (one being the least, five the most).

The accumulated BATs can be used to reward favourite publishers or content creators, with Brave saying that in the future the tokens can be redeemed for access to premium content and eventually transferred out of the Brave Rewards wallet (see the explainer video below).

Singles Day is another hit for Alibaba

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba set a new sales record on Singles Day, with US$38.4 billion in sales—a 26% increase over last year. According to TechCrunch, electronics and fashion items were the biggest sellers.

More than 500 million people around the world participated in the event, which is held on Nov. 11 (11.11) each year. It started as a celebration of Chinese singles before Alibaba turned it into the world’s biggest shopping day, with sales more than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

Now in its 11th year, Singles Day has become a pop-culture phenomenon, with Alibaba recruiting U.S. pop star Taylor Swift and the Asian pop icon GEM to build up excitement for this year’s event.

Brands are also clamouring to be part of the action, with more than 200,000 brands participating this year and more than one million products launched over the course of the day, according to Alibaba.

Nearly 300 brands achieved sales of US$14.3 million during the day-long event, with 15 achieving sales of US$143 million. Among the top brands: Apple, Bose, Estée Lauder, Gap, H&M, L’Oréal, Levi’s, MUJI, Nestlé, Nike, Philips, The North Face, Under Armour and Uniqlo.



Chris Powell