Scotiabank closes online gap

The Bank of Nova Scotia, the last of the big banks to enter the online banking fray and by far the furthest behind in the number of online customers, has been busy trying to close the gap with a recent promotion...

The Bank of Nova Scotia, the last of the big banks to enter the online banking fray and by far the furthest behind in the number of online customers, has been busy trying to close the gap with a recent promotion for its Scotia OnLine banking service.

The promotion, which offered Scotiabank customers who signed up for the service the chance to have their bills paid for the next year, took the form of a direct mail piece in the shape of a laptop computer.

Customers were invited to log onto, enter a supplied personal identification number and see for themselves how Scotia OnLine could make it easier to pay bills, transfer funds between accounts and buy GICs and mutual funds.

Those who then paid at least three separate bills of $15 or more via the online service had their account fees waived for the next three months and became qualified to win up to $10,000 in bill payments over the course of a year.

According to Bob Grant, Scotiabank’s vice-president of electronic banking, the promotion and online demo was originally intended to run to the end of December, but was extended to this month when it proved successful at generating trial. The bank actually launched its online service in the summer of 1997.

‘So far, it’s exceeded all our expectations,’ he says of the latest program. ‘We thought using the combined approach was how we needed to do it. While I don’t want to give hard numbers, I can tell you that of all the people who tried out the demo, half have signed on, and we thought 20% would be doing well.’

While determining the offer was relatively painless, it was more difficult to come up with a list of prospects. As Grant suggests, it wasn’t easy to divine from bank customer lists who was wired at home, and who wasn’t.

‘We couldn’t actually tell if they had Net access,’ he says. ‘But we could predict the likelihood of whether they had access, based on information from Compusearch [Micromarketing Data and Systems], Statistics Canada and our own files. We had a good idea who had Net access but wasn’t necessarily using it to do online banking.’

He figures there were two reasons why there was some reluctance on the part of bank customers to go online: they were either unaware of the wide range of services available, or couldn’t be bothered to give it a try.

‘The safety and security part of it wasn’t an issue,’ he insists.

According to figures provided by Scotiabank, the financial institution has about 175,000 online banking clients, bringing up the rear among Canada’s major chartered banks. It was the last bank to wade into the online banking waters when it launched Scotiabank OnLine in 1997, trailing its competitors by one to two years.

Despite its perceived image as the financial institution of choice for the 50-plus crowd, Scotiabank has a much broader customer base, says Grant, one that is well-suited to online banking.

‘That may have been true of Scotiabank at one time,’ says Grant of the bank’s perceived customer base. ‘But today, the population of the bank reflects the population of Canada.

Not only was the Scotiabank OnLine promotion intended to open up an additional channel of communication with customers, says Grant, but to showcase the bank’s new service capabilities. Customers can now buy and sell registered and non-registered securities online, for example.

It doesn’t hurt, either, that by encouraging customers to use an online channel of delivery, the bank can cut further costs from the system.

Mississauga, Ont.-based direct marketing agency Rapp Collins Communicaide handled the creative and project management for the direct mail piece. Toronto-based Modem Media·Poppe Tyson, meanwhile, designed the Web site.

‘A great thing about the demo site,’ adds Grant, ‘is that we could almost literally watch (collective) customer behaviour – where they went, and where they didn’t go to. That means we could modify the site during the campaign.

‘That’s marketing at Internet speed.’

Bank on it!

Banking customers are heading online

Bank of Montreal 1,000,000*

Royal Bank 630,000**

CIBC 500,000

TD Bank 300,000

Scotia Bank 175,000

* Includes mbanx, PC banking and Investorline customers

** Includes online and PC banking


From Karen Howe’s dining table: Creativity, COVID and Cannes

ICYMI, The Township's founder gathers the best of the best campaigns and trends so far.

Cannes Base Camp

By Karen Howe

I’m attending Cannes from the glory of my dining room table. There’s not a palm tree in sight, yet inspiration and intel are present in abundance.

Cannes Lions is a global cultural pulse check. The social course correction in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and BLM has delivered far greater diversity in the judging panels as well as the work. And we are all better for it.

I’m proud to say that creativity defeated COVID, which speaks to its power. Great work and big ideas flourished, despite unimaginable odds.

The work from the past two years spans a vast emotional range. From the profundity of Dove’s “Courage is Beautiful” to the hyper exuberance of Burberry’s “Festive,” they are opposite ends of the spectrum, but each answered a need in us.

Take note, the ascendency of gaming cannot be understated. Smart brands have embraced the channel. It makes sense, because gamers participate to meet others around the world, not just to play. And they represent a huge and powerful community. That’s why QSR Wendy’s gamified their iconic gal in RPG’s Feast of Legends.

Burger King sponsored the unknown Stevenage Football Club, transforming the team into online heroes and vaulting BK into the fray at the same time. Once again, the brand embedded itself in culture.

The birth of gaming tourism arrived when Xbox snuggled up to travel guides and created a brilliant baby: a travel guide for gaming worlds. It, too, embedded itself in culture.

From the standpoint of social good, Reporter Without Borders showed how it worked with Mindcraft for its “Uncensored Library” to bypass press censorship, with Minecraft providing a loophole to a space where young people could be educated. It provided youth with a powerful tool to fight oppression: truth.

COVID changed us in unexpected ways. We learned how to pay attention again and there was a notable lack of 30-second commercials. Instead, longer format content thrived. Apple’s WFH was seven minutes long. Entertainment reigned king, so we find ourselves returning to our advertising roots.

Seeing competitive brands form partnerships was one of this year’s other great surprises. The brilliantly simple “Beer Cap Project” by Aguila to reduce binge-drinking saw the brand reach out to competitive beers to join in. Aguila put incentivizing (keyword: free) reminders to drink water, eat food and get home safely on its bottle caps from all sorts of fast food chains, ride-share co’s and H2O brands.

On a personal level, I’m so proud of Canada again this year. Given that it was two years of work from all over the world being judged, even making the Cannes shortlist was an accomplishment. Canada is herding in the Lions in tremendous numbers – and it’s not even over. Fingers are crossed.

KAREN-HOWE-PIC-higher-rez-300x263Karen Howe is a Canadian Cannes Advisory Board Member and founder of The Township Group