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Marketing Briefing: SoFi wants users to break up with their banks – but, like, literally

  • SoFi's new campaign wants consumers to break up with their banks -- while breaking out in song.
  • In other news, we wrapped up our Acquire Conference on Tuesday. But not to worry if you missed anything -- we've made all the session videos available just for you.

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Marketing Briefing: SoFi wants users to break up with their banks – but, like, literally

Greetings finmarketers!

Do you guys remember that Starling commercial

It’s the one where a woman who’s stuck standing in line at a bank starts floating into the air, and breaks through the glass ceiling as tons of starlings fly around her. 

And while she’s all happy and cheery floating about in the sky, there’s this text that pops up and says, ‘set yourself free from your old bank.’

Well, it looks like with its campaign launched earlier this month (in line with Valentine’s Day), SoFi has sort of taken a page out of Starling’s book. Only this time, the campaign has been requesting a participating audience.

The marketing initiative took off with, among other things, a three-day challenge where users could win cash prizes by sharing a break-up story with their bank, set to a song by Jax aka @Jaxwritessongs and captioned with the hashtag #SoFiBreakUpChallenge.

SoFi’s new campaign comes following the announcement it made about its banking charter. 

Behind the scenes of SoFi’s campaign with Lauren Stafford Webb, CMO at SoFi

What's the goal of this campaign? 

Our “Break Up With Bad Banking” campaign is a call to action for consumers who are unfulfilled by their current banking solution to break up with their bank and move on with SoFi.


Data shows that the average consumer spends fourteen years with their bank even though financial institutions only have a 33% approval rating. That’s a long time to spend in an unfulfilling relationship! We designed our ‘Break Up with Bad Banking’ campaign to wake consumers up from this financial complacency and encourage them to join a bank that truly understands their wants and needs. When you move on with SoFi, you’re entering a relationship that prioritizes you. Our robust product offering puts you and your financial needs first to help you get your money right—and ultimately help you achieve financial independence.

With SoFi recently announcing the completion of its bank charter, we’re proud to be able to offer 1% annual percentage yield for our members who set up direct deposit, 33 times the national average interest on balances, plus so many more features that make SoFi Checking and Savings best-in-class. We’re creating products that actually serve our members and their financial needs and we want to celebrate that in this campaign.

Why now? How long is it set to last?

We launched this campaign heading into Super Bowl LVI weekend for several reasons: the first was to leverage that SoFi was front and center during the big game, given that the game was hosted at SoFi Stadium. Super Bowl Sunday was also the day before Valentine’s Day, so we wanted to lean into a day focused on relationships. The timing also aligned with SoFi officially becoming a bank and being able to offer our members an industry-leading 1% APY for members who set up direct deposit. This showcases how we put our members first and furthers our commitment to helping more people get their money right.

We plan to run this campaign through the first half of this year.

Have there been any challenges along the way?

The biggest challenge is waking people up from their financial complacency and to encourage people to end unsatisfying long-term relationships with their current banks. We’re confident consumers will be happy when they move on with SoFi because we have the products, tools and resources people need to get their money right. On our app, members can bank, borrow, invest, and protect your money all in one place. SoFi members also receive complimentary access to certified financial planners and career coaches, as well as invites to SoFi VIP member events.

Who is this campaign targeting?

Our campaign is targeting anyone who is currently unfulfilled by their current baking solution and who wants more out of their relationship with their bank. SoFi is ready to be your committed long-term financial partner.

What vendors did you use?

At SoFi, all of our campaigns are created in-house by our stellar brand strategy and creative team led by our Vice President and Executive Creative Director, Jonathan Woytek and our Head of Brand Strategy, Jean-Michel Hoffman. We also partnered with TikTok to host our #SoFiBreakUpChallenge hashtag challenge and worked with over 20 creators to bring this challenge to life including Dixie D’Amelio, Noah Beck, Ashley Park, Karamo Brown, Porsha Williams, Rod, Corporate Natalie, and Tefi, among others. 

Through what channels is the campaign being shared?

The “Break Up with Bad Banking” campaign is a holistic and integrated campaign that we brought to life across multi-channels including TV and social, with 20+ creator partnerships, and more. To kick off our campaign, we had the number one trending video on YouTube created by Dude Perfect that helped contextualize who SoFi is with an Overtime Trickshot episode that was hosted at SoFi Stadium. Our campaign then debuted Super Bowl week via the #SoFiBreakUpChallenge TikTok hashtag that launched on Wednesday, February 9 and continued through Saturday, February 12. We also hosted conversations on Twitter with the hashtag #MoveOnWithSoFi on Super Bowl Sunday and offered various prizes of up to $25,000. We also sponsored NFL live, a daily NFL show on ESPN, on the week of Super Bowl.

We will have upcoming TV commercials with national media buys beginning in mid-March that continue to build on the idea of breaking up with bad banking.

What's next?

This is an exciting year for SoFi as it will be our first full year as both a publicly traded company and a bank. Both of these milestones allow us the opportunity to help even more people get their money right. To reach new consumers, we will continue to create innovative and compelling creative campaigns that celebrate what it means to be a SoFi member.

It’s a wrap for our Acquire Conference…

We covered a whole lot of ground at this year’s Acquire, and we hope you felt you got your time’s worth the way we did.

But in case you missed any of the talks, not to worry! Here's a quick reminder that all sessions of the conference are now available for download.

And since you’re an Outlier, you’ll have access to these…forever. Or – you know – until you stop subscribing (not that you would!) 

In any case, check ‘em out.

Also, don’t forget to find out this year’s Acquire Awards winners.

From Yotta’s personalized raps to Current’s hellish Halloween campaign, a lot of thought went into last year’s marketing moves.

Our awards aim to celebrate the talent behind the scenes. Learn more about this year’s winners, and find out if any of these categories resonate with you – who knows: next year may be yours!

What we’re reading

How to market fees the right way (The Financial Brand)

Metaverse: mega marketing hype (New York Times)

Lloyds putting some serious money into growth (Marketing Week)

Ron Shevlin on the JPMorgan-Metaverse hoopla (Forbes)

Easy on the Crypto Bowl talk (Yahoo! Finance)

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