Two Canadian banks mark Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day has produced a pair of campaigns from financial services companies located at opposite ends of the country, both designed to prompt young couples to discuss the often taboo topic of money.

In Vancouver, the financial cooperative Coast Capital developed a card game called “Talk Money to Me.” The game, which is being distributed throughout Coast Capital’s 45 branches, invites new couples to answer money and finances questions that they might otherwise be avoiding.

Coast Capital created about 5,000 copies of the game (which is also available online), which consists of four finance and finance-adjacent categories featuring questions like “How much should a wedding cost?” “Do you think we should sign a prenup?” and “How much should you spend before checking in with a partner?”

“As a brand, Coast Capital’s purpose is building better futures together, and that starts with helping Canadians have the conversations and get the advice they need in order to live the life they want,” said vice-president of marketing Andrew Rusk.

“Virtually every Canadian agrees that it’s important to talk to their partner about finances, but half of us don’t.”

The campaign is about building the Coast Capital brand and driving customer acquisition, he said. Every one of Coast Capital’s approximately 500,000 members complete a “money chat”: a conversion about where they are financially and where they want to go.

Coast Capital is promoting the game with a video developed by Citizen Relations which features couples answering questions about their partner’s “celebrity hall pass,” or how many exes they have before getting into the thornier topic of money.

This is the first time Coast Capital has specifically activated against Valentine’s Day, although it plans to use the game in an “ongoing way,” said Rusk. Coast Capital is also partnering with TikTok personality Daniella Atkinson, who is known for asking Vancouverites personal questions.

In Toronto, CIBC and its new agency partner Courage created a Valentine’s Day promotion called “Financial Conversation Hearts,” consisting of packs of the popular Valentine’s Day candy. Instead of messages like “Be Mine” and “Kiss Me,” however, the CIBC candies feature money-related slogans like “Show Me Your TFSA” and “R U Invested?”

The campaign was inspired by the insight that money is a leading cause of divorce in Canada, and that couples who talk openly about their finances tend to stay together, said Courage creative director Domenique Raso. The program went from conception to creation in about a week. “We presented it to clients last Monday, and since then it’s been go, go, go,” she said.

The execution fits with CIBC’s “Real Talk” brand platform, which is being gradually rolled out this year and espouses the benefits of couples having candid conversations about money and finances.

CIBC created 500 packs of the candy, some of which were sent to influencers, while others were distributed at CIBC Square in downtown Toronto. CIBC is also promoting the program through its social channels and digital out-of-home throughout Toronto.

“We felt it was a very natural way to inject ourselves into the conversations that are going to be happening [on Valentine’s Day] while also giving them something tangible that they can do to improve their relationship,” said Raso. “It felt like a really nice brand play, and the candies are just a metaphor for the benefits that talking about money can have in a relationship.”

Chris Powell