Wealthsimple goes back to its roots in new campaign

Who: Wealthsimple and director Martin De Thurah, with Jungle Media.

What: A new brand campaign for the technology led financial services brand. The creative retains Wealthsimple’s characteristically bold brand voice to remind people that it has a suite of tools to make investing more manageable for everyone.

When & Where: The campaign debuted during the Golden Globes broadcast on Sunday, with a 90-second brand ad called “Half a million Mikes” (more below). The 90-second version will run on other high-profile TV events. There is also a :60 cutdown, while a :30 and shorter social video spots are more product specific but employ the same tone.

Why: Wealthsimple wanted to remind people of its roots as a financial services brand that uses technology to make it easier for people to invest and build wealth. The business has grown considerably since launching a little more than five years ago, with a broader suite of investing and financial management tools, explained the company’s executive creative director, Mike Giepert.

“We can advertise the products that we make, but we also want people to believe in what we do as a company and think that we stand for the average, everyday person who’s trying to grow wealth—not the just the richest of the rich.”

The starting point was to tell a story about why Wealthsimple does what it does, said Giepert. “In order to do that, it helps to humanize the story and I think that’s why [the creative team] landed on Mike.”

Who’s Mike? Michael Katchen is the founder of Wealthsimple. “But we didn’t want this to be like a founder as hero type story,” stresses Giepert. “We wanted it to be about this person, genuinely creating something that everyone can use.”

How? “Half a million Mikes” tells the story of young Mike Katchen—one of 457,000 Mikes in Canada—who was “sort of a nerd,” great at computers and picking stocks, but terrible at dodgeball. He started his career in finance, but saw a problem and created Wealthsimple to give people the necessary tools to manage their money. The anchor ad uses humour to tell Katchen’s story, while also unequivocally presenting the big financial brands as the bad guys uninterested in helping average investors grow their wealth the way Katchen envisioned.

On changes from last year: In 2019 Wealthsimple told a series of quite serious stories about financial health, including a family at the bedside of their dying father. The goal was to remind people that Wealthsimple has a variety of different products for people at all stages of life, not just for millennials, said Giepert.

This year the tone is definitely lighter (with the return of De Thurah who directed this for the 2017 Super Bowl) with a singular objective of reminding viewers that Wealthsimple exists to help everyone feel empowered about money management. “Not just the few. Everyone.”

“This year [the idea] was can we deepen the emotional connection that people have with our brand so that they can trust us as we launched new products,” said Giepert. “Can we make people really love this brand and love what it stands for. That was the main goal for this year’s campaign.”

David Brown