AltFi charts some of the fintechs which made big marketing moves in 2019.
Undoubtedly 2019 marked the year when a number of fintechs entered the marketing mainstream, leaping from word of mouth and community marketing to big brand advertising, including TV spots.
Monzo claimed it saw "insane growth" on the back of its debut TV advertising campaign while Starling and Tide also debuted TV work and Curve undertook its first brand campaign, highlighting a visual overhaul.
However, there were marketing misfires in 2019, with Revolut sparking controversy with its “single-shaming” advert which drew protests from the City watchdog over the issue.
Here AltFi highlights some of the biggest advertising campaigns of 2019.
Hitherto, Monzo had relied almost exclusively on word-of-mouth marketing to promote its brand and use social (Facebook and Twitter) as well as running outdoor ads across Transport for London.
“We had 700 people and only five watched it. So doing our first TV ad was a tough sell. But we needed to reach millions of people so we just went with it,” Thomas added.
Thomas said the campaign- which tried to give a voice to the Monzo brand and highlight some of its features-was an immediate hit.
Thomas told Marketing Week magazine that June was Monzo’s biggest month for sign-ups, with 250,000 sign ups, up from 150,000 the month previous, while brand awareness had also risen.
Thomas added: “Clearly we went into this looking to see a significant uplift in downloads and people creating Monzo accounts. It was pretty insane actually. We saw in June by far our biggest month of sign-ups ever. And we are still seeing those impacts today.”
Not to be outdone, Startling Bank undertook its first TV advertising campaign in October this year.
The advert called Feel Good About Money was centred on the bank’s commitment to give people the tools they need to feel confident and in control of their finances.
The TV spot features the murmuration of starlings and a cover version of Feeling Good by Avicii.
Commenting on the TV ad, Rachael Pollard, Chief Growth Officer, Starling Bank, said: "Our namesake, the starling bird, features prominently, symbolising the fast, beautiful and effortless qualities of our app, as well as the synergy with our brand colours of teal, navy and purple."
The ad has been viewed over 500,000 times on YouTube and has garnered a mixed response, from some saying it is "annoying" while others saying they "love the advert.”
The payment platform launched its first brand campaign, following a visual overhaul.
Curve said its old "bland" brand "simply wasn't cutting it”, as it switched its brand logo to the colour red and introduced new fonts.
Speaking to advertising magazine Campaign, Curve Head of Brand and Communications Amabel Polglase, said the Curve brand had previously been “a little bit disparate"- which was at odds with the product which was all about simplicity.
She said that consumers did "not really understand the difference" between different fintechs.
“Cutting through the clutter and standing out from the crowd. It has been designed to communicate a bold, confident and passionate mission, vision and value to customers. It reflects who we are as a company and our view on the world.”
Curve’s campaign ran across outdoor sites, running across 200 Underground stations and 400 Tube carriages for a month, kicking off mid-October.
Speaking to advertising magazine Campaign, Polglase said that Curve had previously been "a little bit disparate"- which was at odds with the product which was all about simplicity.
The TV ad, which was soft launched on Sky’s addressable advertising platform, Sky Adsmart, features an entrepreneur sat behind his desk trying (and struggling) to launch his own business and highlights the speediness that a Tide account can be opened.
Tide’s TV debut follows a concerted advertising push on national and regional radio.
George Schmidt, Head of Marketing at Tide, said: “TV advertising is a natural next step for Tide following the growth we have seen off the back of our coordinated digital, radio and outdoor campaigns”.
“We are excited to bring Tide to the small screen with a playful advert that incorporates the Tide personality. Improvisation is a key skill mastered by successful entrepreneurs - we know from speaking to our members that it is an aspect of running a business that they are proud of and identify strongly with. We are confident it will have a positive impact on an ever-wider audience.”
Revolut, meanwhile, sparked complaints with a spoof advert addressed to people who ordered a takeaway meal for one on Valentine’s Day.
After the advert was criticised for being “intrusive” and “tone-deaf”, Revolut apologised and said it didn’t mean to poke fun.
Financial commentator Iona Bain said the spot was patronising and unworthy of a firm trying to attract young, tech-savvy customers.
“It doesn’t tell you anything about the service. It just says they will spy on your spending, so people can laugh at your poor unfortunate single status later on.”
In a further blow to Revolut, it was referred to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for fabricating user spending data in its advertising, which may have misled consumers regarding the use of their data in an ad.