Vancity takes on the housing crisis in BC

Who: Vancity, with Taxi for strategy and creative, Polyester Studio for animation, original music by Vapor, and OpenMind for media.

What: “Put your money where it builds affordable housing,” an animated spot explaining Vancity’s response to growing concerns about the housing crisis.

When & Where: The 50-second ad is running as online video and through social channels, with a 30-second spot likely running on TV next month. “We leaned into high-impact, sound-on video placements only as we had a complex story to tell, and wanted to give it room to breathe,” said James Sadler, executive creative director at Taxi Vancouver.

Why: Last April, Vancity launched a new brand platform called “Financial Force for Change,” emphasizing the ways the credit union is tackling some of the biggest issues facing society, such as social and economic inequality, and the climate crisis.

This new creative extends that agenda specifically to the dire shortage of housing. Vancity is, for example, providing loans and financing to build new homes. By banking with them, Vancity says people are also helping tackle the problem.

“Almost a third of our members say affordable housing is one of the biggest issues facing Canadians today,” said Vancity’s vice-president of marketing Gurpreet Jhaj in a release. “As a financial force for change, we wanted to offer something for British Columbians to rally behind by acting on our values.”

How: “We specifically needed to show that living in metro Vancouver is becoming increasingly unaffordable, making it hard for people to take care of basic human needs,” said Sadler. “And then communicate that Vancity sees the problems and challenges its members are experiencing, and is working to find solutions for as many people as possible.”

The spot opens in 3D animation, with a woman asking a Vancity employee if where she banks matters when it comes to affordable housing. The employee responds with a song about the problem, as the animation switches to 2D to depict the systematic barriers and sometimes scary scenarios facing those trying to buy a home.

The video then switches back to 3D as the employee explains how Vancity is doing something to solve some of the problems. “We believe in treating homes the way they were intended, as foundations to build our lives, and not just investments,” she says.

“The 3D world represents the solution—the optimistic Vancity world that’s trying to solve the crisis,” said Sadler. “The 2D section in the middle is designed to represent the problem—the chaos… The towering houses paint a metaphor for how far out of reach they’ve become for the average person.”

Vancity also has a section on its website that explains some of its solutions and contributions to address the housing crisis in more depth.

And we quote: “Whether it’s supporting affordable housing development at our branch sites, providing grants, loans and advice to non-profits, or helping our members make their homes more efficient and comfortable, we’re showing that just by banking with Vancity, you can be a part of a movement committed to making life more affordable for more people.” —Gurpreet Jhaj, vice-president of marketing, Vancity

David Brown