EQ Bank is all about the make, not the take

Who: EQ Bank, with The Hive for strategy and creative, production by Animals (directed by Benjamin Nichols), media by Epitaph.

What: “Make Bank,” a new platform for the digital bank built around the idea that many Canadians are frustrated with the old bank system and want a new bank that will make money for them, instead of taking it from them.

When & Where: The launch campaign is live now, running through the fall as online video—with a hero 60-second spot and shorter 15s—digital/social, out of home and through influencer outreach.

Why:  Like any digital bank or financial service going up against Canada’s entrenched banking giants, EQ thinks and acts like a challenger brand. It believes its products and services are different, but a lot of people aren’t necessarily looking for different because they have become accustomed to the traditional ways of doing things.

“People are pretty apathetic when it comes to switching or adding a bank… It’s not hate, it’s apathy,” said The Hive’s chief strategy officer, Dustin Rideout.

EQ needed a strong message that would get people to challenge the old ways of banking, and get them thinking about something better, which in this case is EQ, said Rideout. “Our job with the work is how do we make it personal? Less take, more make: Okay, that’s personal. We’re on the side of make.”

The target: The sweet spot for EQ is more of a psychographic than a demographic. With digital banking, the target is always going to skew younger, said EQ’s vice-president of marketing Caleb Rubin. More specifically, EQ wants to be for those people with an “achiever” mentality.

“It’s that mindset of ‘I want to stay ahead in everything that I do. And I’m looking for a tool set, and a construct and a brand to help me do that in my life,'” he said. “These aren’t people who necessarily fear missing out, these are people who fear of missing opportunity.”

“These are people who have what we refer to as intuitive potential,” said Rideout. “They believe that they have greatness inside of them waiting to be unleashed,  and they need things that can help  empower them. That was a big insight for us around the consumer. We have a product that does that, but not everybody knows it exists.”

How: The 60-second hero spot features a man moving through a city setting, talking directly to camera, sharing with the viewer that he understands the frustrating feeling of having your money taken away in myriad ways. “It feels like the whole world is working to take from you,” he says.

That means a rising cost of living, but it also means banks that charge fees and give special treatment to some clients, and not others. “We deserve a bank that is always making. For us. Not them,” he says as the spot draws to an end. “Less take. More make.” The 15s feature the same character, but are more specific and product focused.

To break through, the spot had to open with the “right amount of tension,” said Rubin. And it was clear from the research that many people feel the tension themselves. “Our job in the creative is to let people relate with someone,” he said. “I think they do relate with the hero, they see themselves in that hero character a bit, and he talks to them. And they have those moments of why does that exist? That’s the journey they need to go on.”

“You could say it’s a bit of a rant, but it’s a rant with an outcome,” said Rideout. The ad starts with complaints about the system, but closes with the more positive tone as he provides the solution: EQ Bank.

David Brown