Viewpoint: Super Bowl 50 Ads that Got Money Right
There’s a lot of talk about money these days and what it means for consumers. The jobless rate is below 5 percent and low oil prices are helping to stretch household budgets. But what do these macro-economic trends mean for consumers’ financial lives? Three ads released during the biggest football game of the year draw attention to key trends about how people are feeling about that all-important issue: money.
“Hold your breath, hold it, hold it. What you’re feeling now is just like financial stress—it’s like you’re drowning. Meanwhile, the moments that matter slip away,” says the voiceover. SunTrust’s first-ever Super Bowl ad taps into a feeling that hundreds of millions of Americans face on a daily basis. Research shows that financial stress permeates all income levels.
This ad got it right because financial stress is universal, and it comes with real physiological consequences. There’s an upside, though: SunTrust says it “is about to help America catch its breath by lighting the way to financial confidence.” At CFSI we’ve seen dozens of other financial institutions that also are pledging in big and small ways to improve consumer financial health. Like SunTrust, many are focused on helping Americans getting a better handle on their financial health.
“Old money closes at 5; new money is always open,” the PayPal ad reads. We’re seeing rapid changes in how people are able to transact, and and it’s also changing the faces of who is participating in today’s economy. Dan Schulman, PayPal CEO, said about the ad that “technology can play a tremendous role in reaching the billions of people around the world that are outside the financial system. That’s a very inclusive vision of what new money can be.”
Schulman is right. And we’re seeing more and more companies consider consumers’ needs first as they focus on building quality financial products —the challenge lies in figuring out what exactly would help customers most.
Released the week after the Super Bowl on YouTube (full disclosure: CFSI was not able to afford the $5 million Super Bowl price tag), the ad points to how disconnected those that create financial products are from those who actually use those products. With 57 percent of Americans financially unhealthy, and numerous new ways to manage, send and receive money, the ad offers a glimpse into the way product designers can step into the shoes of everyday consumers, catalyzing product design processes to meet new market needs.
Money is changing, and consumers’ expectations of how to transact are changing. If who’s paying for Super Bowl ads foreshadows the future, we all should be trying to understand the daily financial lives of U.S consumers so we can design products better suited to meet their needs.
Elizabeth Vivirito is the director of marketing and communications at CFSI, helping to distribute its thought leadership to the financial services industry and beyond. She has experience in managing a global network of banks committed to growing lending to SMEs and community development work in Oakland, Calif. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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