Changing bank cards can change the world, says Mogo

Who: B.C.-based fintech brand Mogo, with One Twenty Three West and Murmur for audio.

What: “Change your card. Change the world,” a campaign supporting the company’s MogoSpend account, which launched in July and is aimed at helping Canadians achieve “zero debt and a zero carbon footprint.” It’s Mogo’s first major marketing push, and One Twenty Three West’s first work for the brand.

When & Where: The spots began airing last week on the brand’s social channels, with some paid advertising across YouTube and Instagram.

Why: It’s an awareness push for Mogo, which has built its brand platform around the idea of responsible spending—both from a personal financial standpoint as well as impact on the environment. The MogoSpend account comes with a pre-paid Visa and includes budgeting features to help users monitor and control spending.

Mogo says that nearly three-quarters of all carbon emissions come from consumer consumption, and that everything we buy—from food delivery to clothes and cars—has a carbon footprint (an estimated 30,000 pounds of CO2 per Canadian per year). Mogo’s model is built around offsetting CO2 with every purchase made on the card—1 lb of CO2 for every dollar spent—by supporting environmentally friendly activities such as planting trees.

How: The 30-second spot is built around a series of quick-cuts of stock and royalty free footage of environmental problems like melting glaciers, hurricanes and plastic waste, as well as images representing out-of-control consumer spending.

Much of the spot’s power comes from its voiceover by Vancouver hip-hop artist Kyprios, who talks about how it’s no longer appropriate for people to say they didn’t know about the impact of their spending on both the environment and their personal debt levels. “It’s not okay to not know, to not ask, to not search,” he says. “So you can look the other way, or you can spend with Mogo.”

“They’re very passionate about what they do, especially around the environmental aspect of the brand, so what we wanted to do is match that passion,” says One Twenty Three West creative director John Larigakis. “It’s always great when a client asks you to be bold, and they actually mean it.”

Wait, is that an F-bomb?: Yep, there’s an uncensored version of the spot that says “every time you tap you can say you either give zero fucks, or it can say you believe in zero footprint.” There was a lot of back-and-forth discussion between client and agency about whether to produce a final cut that kept the profanity in, says Larigakis.

“We thought it was important to be as strong as we could be in the wording, because the issue is so important,” he says. “I think that’s probably one of the biggest ways people can be shocked through the words.”

And we quote: “Our message is clear; you should know you can do something about climate change. We’re offering you something easy—offset your CO2 with every purchase you make. Everything you buy makes an impact, to your financial health and to the environment. And that impact doesn’t have to be bad, it can be really good.” — Mogo founder and CEO David Feller

Chris Powell