Inside RBC’s holiday plans

The gift-vertising trend continues: To promote its rewards program, the bank dished out a massive snowman and a garage full of presents.
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What would you do if a 15-foot-tall Frosty ended up on your front lawn? For RBC’s holiday push, promoting its RBC Reward program, the bank constructed the frost giant while a family was out for the day, and filled their garage with presents (all of which could be purchased using the Rewards points).

RBC typically does a seasonal push around its rewards program during the holidays, usually taking a functional approach and offering things like discounts or extra rewards points, says Alan Depencier, VP marketing at RBC. He adds this year, the bank took that functionality and combined it with a more aspirational message by looking at how the program can be utilized to get gifts loved ones will like while still managing a holiday budget.

“It’s based on a key insight we found: Canadians are still concerned about keeping a tight budget while providing great gifts for their friends and family,” he says. “This was inspired by actual stories of how RBC Rewards members were using their points during the holidays. We decided to tell everyone that as you’re looking at holiday shopping, you might not be aware, but here’s a way to do that well and on a smaller budget.”

Other videos in the campaign highlight specific gifts that members could get with their points, ranging from high-end tech to fashion.

The videos are being pushed online through RBC’s website, social media and as pre-roll, as well as through the internal channels in bank branches. Even though the bank has been more efficient with its budget by being heavy on digital, Depencier says the push behind this year’s Rewards campaign is larger than in the past after seeing the campaign creative hit the right mix of functional and inspirational it was hoping for. The creative for the campaign was done by Grip with M2 Universal handling the media buying.

Feel-good gift giving videos seem to be especially popular this holiday season, but Depencier says the “Best. Holiday. Ever.” campaign’s functionality focus gives it stronger relevance to consumers.

“This is less so about the novelty and surprise value of a stunt but how it links back to our core business,” he says. “It’s more of an extension of creating awareness of what we can do to help consumers’ financial goals during this season. It’s more of a business-centric message than a corporate social responsibility message.”