A few weeks ago, Karma, a shopping app that helps consumers find the best deals and coupons for their purchases, published a pretty unique ad. The goal of the ad was to promote its new product, Pay with Karma, an embedded checkout option it launched in October.
As a shopping app just recently dipping its feet in payments, Karma seems to represent this intersection between financial and lifestyle products. Its new ad speaks to this, by showcasing the new financial product but also speaking to consumers’ wish for entertainment.
Apart from the attention-grabbing opening (another adjective may be a spoiler here), there are other things that set this ad apart. For one, it has a full-on storyboard. In it, two detectives must work together to solve an unseemly crime – all concerning the use of the Karma app as a shopping tool.
The ad ends with a cliffhanger, leaving the viewer wondering, what on earth did I just watch, but also – what happens next?
The strategy behind this specific commercial, says CMO of Karma, Mor Pesso Eblagon, was to create a script that was entertaining, but with the brand’s main message written into the story’s jokes, rather than its central plot points.
The ad, which is three minutes long, addresses a challenge Karma was facing with its previous videos – drop-off rates. Making a commercial long was risky, said Eblagon, but it was a tradeoff to making it interesting.
“If you create something interesting, then people will want to watch it,” said Eblagon. “(...) I knew it was a risk, but I wanted to create something that people would want to watch.”
Karma’s main audience is its main user base – younger adults looking for the best deals and easy payment solutions.
To spread awareness for this ad among the core audience, Karma worked with several well-known influencers in the space, who posted videos of themselves reacting to the ad. In the video below, for example, we see celebrity drag queen duo Trixie and Katya, who have a YouTube following of 288K subscribers, watching the video and commenting throughout:
The purpose behind these reaction videos was to keep comments on the Karma app itself between the lines, rather than in the forefront of the influencers’ commentary.
“They don't talk about the product,” said Eblagon. “They talk about the content, which is a commercial, which eventually [leads to talking] about Karma.”
To create the ad, Karma worked with writing-directing duo Noam Sharon and Tal Rosenthal and Mamash Productions Group. The commercial itself was filmed in Georgia.
One challenge that popped up along the way, said Eblagon, was creating a plot that feels relevant to people no matter where they are.
“We didn’t want a commercial that requires any localization,” said Eblagon. “This one just feels very international.”
The bigger obstacle, though, had to do with hitting the right level of funny and serious.
“We had to ask ourselves, how do we create this balance within the narrative of the commercial to not look too serious, because there is an element that can be a bit spooky,” said Eblagon.
Zooming out, Karma’s ad may speak to this need financial products are facing in appealing to their users on an emotional level, and keeping their attention. In other words, it’s not enough to send a propelling message – you need a propelling package as well.
“We knew we were competing with a lot of companies that might have bigger budgets, so we wanted to create something that will stand out,” said Eblagon.
As for what’s next in this series of commercials, she couldn’t share too much. Though, one thing’s true – the story will get weirder.
“I can tell you this is the safe one. It just escalates from here,” she said. “I'm really waiting to see all the creators' reviews and reactions. I think it's going to be mind-blowing.”