Scotiabank provides advice to new Canadians, from former new Canadians

Who: Scotiabank, with Rethink for strategy and creative, Steam Films for production (directed by James Michael Chiang), post-production by Nimiopere, Alter Ego and Darling, Grayson Music for audio, and PHD for media.

What: “First Day,” a campaign promoting the bank’s StartRight program, which helps new Canadians settle in the country with a year of free banking services.

When & Where: The campaign is running on TV, in cinemas, digital and outdoor.

Why: Scotiabank introduced the StartRight program in 2008 to provide guidance and support to new Canadians. Rethink came up with a campaign about advice for immigrants on their first day in Canada from those who’ve made a similar big move to the country—which it describes as talking to new Canadians, rather than talking at them.

“Most bank advertising for newcomers is product focused, and often paints a very easy picture of banking,” said John Rocco, Scotiabank’s vice-president marketing, Canadian banking. “It [relies] on the fact that consumers are supposed to know about Canadian banking, rather than recognizing the nuances in terms and practices here versus where they might have come from.”

The campaign demonstrates that Scotiabank understands it’s not easy coming to a new country, and it wants to help make it easier for them when they arrive here.

How: The creative idea for the campaign is to have real Canadians speaking to themselves on their first day in Canada, providing them with financial and life advice.

“The team realized that the best place to seek advice was from those who have actually lived through this experience,” said Aaron Starkman, Rethink’s managing partner and national chief creative officer.

The launch :60 focuses on one man, Arjun Sharma, arriving at Pearson Airport. “You’re probably a bit scared, it’s okay you’ll find your way,” says Sharma in voiceover, talking to himself 17 years earlier. The ad shows him moving into his small apartment—“This place will have to do for a while. Don’t get discouraged. It’s only temporary,” he says—figuring out where to eat and, of course, going to Scotiabank for advice.

“It was important to us to take the time to talk to real Canadian Immigrants to really understand their experiences,” said Rocco. They asked questions like “What was the hardest part of moving to Canada?” and ‘What did they wish they had known?” with their answers helping to shape the campaign’s narrative. “Arjun’s character was a representation of all of the stories we collected. We even used their answers as headlines for our OOH and social ads,” said Rocco.

It was personal:  When building the team to develop and produce the campaign, Rethink looked for people who could related to the immigrant experience. “They wanted to make sure this story resonated with everyone who touched it,” said Starkman. ”The creative team, strategy team, director, editor, hero actor and voiceover talent all related to this immigration story, as they were all first- or second-generation Canadians themselves. It was amazing to see how collaborative and passionate each partner was throughout the process, as it was a personal project for many.”

And we quote: “The insight that led to this platform is such a fruitful one that we will definitely be adding to the narrative with additional stories over the course of the next year,” said Starkman.

David Brown