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‘We were already banking a lot of essential workers’: Current’s new advertising campaign focuses on getting paid early

  • Challenger bank Current recently launched two TV commercials focusing on user experience.
  • The challenger bank doubled its customer base in 2020 and reached around 2 million active users by the end of the year.
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‘We were already banking a lot of essential workers’: Current’s new advertising campaign focuses on getting paid early

On Feb 16 and 18, Tearsheet will host the Acquire Conference, an exploration of what top financial brands, like Marcus by Goldman, Square, PayPal, Shopify and many more, are doing in marketing, customer acquisition, branding, and customer journeys. Current’s VP of Marketing Adam Hadi will discuss how the firm has built a brand for Gen Z. Register here.

Mobile bank Current recently launched two TV commercials to kick off 2021. The commercials, which feature two alternate versions of user experiences, showcase the firm’s rewards based debit card program and its Overdrive offering, which allows free overdraft up to $100 through the Current debit card without any overdraft fees.   

The campaign comes simultaneous to the challenger bank’s announcement of saving its members a $100 million in overdraft fees in the last eight months of 2020. By the end of 2020, Current’s customer base rose to a total of 2 million members, many of whom live paycheck to paycheck. 80 percent of those members are essential workers who require fast and immediate access to their money. 

“We learned in 2020 that we were already banking a lot of essential workers, a term that wasn’t used just a year before,” said Adam Hadi, Current’s vice president of marketing. “The exponential growth we saw — and the whole accelerant to digital banking — showed us the greater urgency all our members had for faster access to their money and we focused our efforts on building even more products to get money back in their pockets as quickly as possible.”

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The commercials are in a Walk and Talk style explainer video format and feature a customer’s experience in receiving early direct deposits within 2 days. The customer uses Current’s reward debit card and Overdrive.

Launched last year, Current’s debit card offers users the opportunity to instantly earn up to 15x points on purchases at over 14,000 merchants such as Burger King, Subway and Forever 21. Points earned can be redeemed in the Current app at a rate of 100 points per dollar. 

In April of 2020, the neobank was one of the first banks to transfer the first round of stimulus payments, crediting customer accounts with millions of dollars through the temporary use of its own balance sheet for the process. Current provided stimulus payments five days faster than most banks. 

Current’s marketing strategy is focused on establishing and maintaining consumer trust among its young, hardworking customers. “We are onboarding so many Americans onto the financial system, so it’s especially critical we build trust with them, which includes being relatable both in terms of offering products that meet their needs but especially in our marketing, in terms of how and where we speak to them,” said Hadi. 

“It shapes all aspects of our strategic plans, from the scripts to casting, to set design, etc. We’re also directing people from the commercial to current.com, so it’s also important our commercials, our website, and social content are all in alignment in terms of our brand and messaging.” 

Despite a decrease in TV commercial production budgets since the beginning of the pandemic, banks are increasingly relying on TV and video marketing to foster brand loyalty and trust. 

“As banking continues to get digitized, offline marketing opportunities are shrinking for banks,” said Waleed Chohan, founder of digital marketing agency MYCRO Digital.  

“While account holders are home-bound, especially because of Covid-19, banks need to focus on getting to consumers. As numbers suggest, video and TV marketing has required banks to revise their storytelling.”

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