" class="no-js "lang="en-US"> Disruptive marketing examples in financial services - Fintech Finance
Monday, March 04, 2024

Disruptive marketing examples in financial services

The financial services sector hasn’t always enjoyed the most dynamic image with its marketing. Insurance providers, global banks and loan and credit card specialists have sometimes faced internal cultural or external regulatory barriers to their efforts to launch the kind of agile and innovative marketing campaigns that many of us have become accustomed to from other sectors. 

However, all of these restrictions can also make the most impactful marketing initiatives overseen by financial services firms all the more impressive. So, here are some of our own favourites among the more disruptive financial services marketing that we have seen from an industry that has so often been unfairly characterised as stodgy, straitlaced or unresponsive.

Monzo’s linkup with The Big Issue 

Monzo has been one of the UK’s most admired ‘challenger’ banks of recent times and has attracted admiring glances more than once for its grassroots-oriented marketing approach. 

[Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hg97wlU-jJs

Only established in 2015, the digital, mobile-only bank welcomed its millionth customer just three years later, and there’s no question that much of its success can be attributed to the inclusive ethos it has nurtured from the outset. 

The bank has been feted for its democratic culture that has long encouraged users to provide feedback and suggestions on the product, to the point that when the company’s original name, Mondo, was subject to a trademark challenge from another business, loyal ‘Monzonauts’ devised a new name. 

Fast-forward to 2019, and Monzo has continued to steal a march on traditional high-street banks with its sideways thinking, partnering with The Big Issue to launch what has been claimed to be the “world’s first resellable magazine”. 

The ‘Pay It Forward’ scheme saw a QR code featured on each Big Issue magazine, enabling readers to pass their copy onto a friend, who could then pay for the magazine again by scanning the front cover. The partnership thereby enabled magazine vendors to boost their income due to the onward sale of a single weekly issue. 

The goofy and relatable Flo from Progressive 

The advertising mascot has sometimes seemed an endangered species in recent years, not least as companies inside and outside of financial services have sought to adopt a more personal and holistic approach to reaching the burgeoning Millennial demographic.

[Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4MYhWFUB0E]

One undoubted mascot success story, however, has been Progressive’s fictional salesperson character Flo, portrayed by the actress and comedian Stephanie Courtney. First appearing in a commercial for the brand in January 2008, a time when – in the words of Fast Company’s Jeff Beer – “Progressive Insurance’s brand recognition was somewhere between zero and being mistaken for Progresso soup” – the cashier character proved something of an accidental hit. 

The commercial – based on the concept of a gleaming white superstore in which customers could shop for different types of insurance labelled on boxes, as if they were purchasing cereal – featured Flo responding to a customer’s impressed exclamation of “wow” with the comment: “Wow! I say it louder…” 

As Progressive CMO Jeff Charney observed, “When she said that, we realised that she really had something special, she was a character with real character.” With Progressive’s business having doubled over the decade since Flo’s debut, it isn’t difficult to understand the reasons for her longevity – her humanisation of the sometimes intimidating or faceless world of insurance doubtless among them. 

Mahi FX pitting you against John Paulson 

Forex trading is another industry that can seem distant and arcane to many observers, so the implementation of a spot of gamification into the marketing campaign accompanying the launch of Mahi FX’s online trading platform was certainly notable. 

An interactive webspace presents the visitor with a proposition designed to activate their innate competitiveness: how long does it take “super-trader” John Paulson to earn their annual income? Enter your salary into the provided answer box, and you may well have reason to feel humbled – Paulson apparently only requires 10.7 minutes, for example, to rack up $100,000 in earnings. 

Accompanying statistics on the results page hammer home the message, disclosing such details as how much John will have earned in the time the visitor has lingered on the page, as well as the supposed fact that the South Pacific nation of Fiji could be yours if you ever one day equal Paulson’s $4.9 billion annual income. 

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