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‘You can make investing as regular as your route’: Behind Stash’s new marketing campaign against day trading

  • Stash’s marketing campaign, set to last until the end of this month, has enveloped Union Square’s subway station, spreading the message that anyone can invest, and everyone should invest long-term.
  • Stash’s marketing initiative comes in the midst of this year’s investing boom, as more people than ever are investing.
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‘You can make investing as regular as your route’: Behind Stash’s new marketing campaign against day trading

As of May 5, Stash has taken over the Union Square subway station in New York City as part of its marketing campaign to encourage long-term investing rather than day trading. 

The investment platform aims to speak directly to its core audience — people with 9-to-5 jobs who may not have much spare time to think about their financial plans. 

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The messaging comes in the midst of day trading’s spike in popularity and could be a way to change consumers’ image of investing. 

Right now, Union Square station is filled with ads featuring people standing next to commute-encircled investment slogans like ‘Get onboard today. Stay on track tomorrow’ and ‘You can make investing as regular as your route.’ The campaign started in line with the city’s reopening after the pandemic and is set to continue through the end of this month.

“We’ve blanketed New York City buses and chose one of New York City’s busiest subway hubs — Union Square — as the epicenter of our OOH campaign, which highlights the ways people can start investing with just $5,” said Chidi Achara, chief creative officer at Stash. “It encourages everyday commuters to ‘decade trade’ instead of day trade.” 

The campaign marks Stash’s shift from a lockdown-directed approach to a back-to-routine approach. During lockdown waves, the company was more reliant on social media and digital outlets for marketing. As restrictions started to lighten though, Stash found that more people were opting for outdoor activities. That led to Stash rethinking its marketing strategies.

“We noticed that as lockdowns eased, people were increasingly going out for walks, runs, and bike rides to stay healthy,” said Adriana Estrada, vp of brand strategy at Stash. “We updated our strategy to put our out-of-home campaigns on buses and billboards across the city.”

Stash, which started out as an investment app in 2015, has since expanded its services to banking as well. But its roots are still in investing. One of its features, for instance, is a stock-back card: every time users pay for something using the card, they earn fractional shares of a stock.

The fintech functions on a subscription-based model, and is meant to represent an affordable way for people to invest. 

The Stash Beginner plan, which includes investing, banking, a stock-back card, and saving strategies, costs $1/month. The Stash Growth account, the more expensive option, includes a smart portfolio, a retirement portfolio, and tax benefits for retirement investing, and costs $3/month. The most expensive plan, Stash+, which includes kids portfolios, more stock options within the stock-back card, more detailed research and advice, and life insurance, costs $9/month.

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Installing the ads in one of the central transportation hubs in New York City means direct contact with the fintech’s core customer base — people who may not be able to afford their own asset managers, but could afford $1 to $9 a month.

“Even though subway ridership is down, our core target still relies heavily on public transport — whether they’re teachers, nurses, students, construction workers, or small business owners,” said Estrada.

Many of the people featured in the ads are women. And according to Achara, that’s intentional. Stash found that women tend to be more strategic investors than men. And during 2020, roughly half of all people joining Stash were women.

Stash’s campaign comes in the midst of this year’s investment boom. In the five months leading up to April, more than half a trillion dollars went into equity funds, according to research by Bank of America. That’s more than the past 12 months altogether, which brought in $452 billion. In the same time period, the S&P also went up 17 percent.

“Nearly half of new customers in 2020 were women, which we’re thrilled to see,” said Achara. “As we continue to grow, we expect that women will always make up at least half of our subscribers, and we’ll continue to speak to them directly in our creative, too.”

Stash itself has seen significant growth. 2020 was a record year for the company — it hit over 5 million customers, and saw account openings go up by 100 percent. Customers earned almost $23 million in stock from using their stock-back cards. Today the company has $3 billion dollars in AUM. 

And Stash isn’t the only trading app seeing these plus signs. 

Despite its recent controversies, Robinhood earned $331 million in Q1 revenue from people trading — almost triple the $91 million it saw in Q1 of 2020. 

Meanwhile, online broker eToro saw a 214 percent increase in the number of new registrations in Q1 of 2021, as well as 3.1 million new users. For comparison, in the whole of 2020, the company has had 5.2 million users.

According to Achara, Stash’s goal is to create a brand of investing tools that’s for ‘the digitally-native, mobile-first lifestyle of modern Americans’, one that zeroes in on middle-class Americans.

“With this campaign we’re speaking directly to millions of people in and around New York City, opening their eyes to the possibilities of Stash and our simple, long-term approach to building wealth,” said Achara.

While subway passengers are standing clear of the closing doors, Stash wants to show it can open others. 

“With over 150 assets blanketing the entire station, our approach is to create a visually beautiful journey for riders as they travel from entrances to platforms,” said Estrada. “Starting with the message that ‘Anyone Can Invest’ and ending with ‘Start with $5,’ we want to leave a memorable impression that long-term investing on Stash can be easy, fun, and rewarding.”

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