CASSIES Silver: TD turns features into benefits

To stand out from the crowd, the bank touted its Mortgage Payment Vacation and secured 115% more mortgage deals than forecast.

Events, Seasonal and Short-Term

Situation Analysis: The average price of a Canadian house had risen over 100% since 2000, but, by 2013, sentiment surrounding Canadian real estate was beginning to shift. Thought-leaders like The Economist and Maclean’s began publishing dire warnings on the threat of a Canadian housing bubble. For TD Bank, this context was ominous: the spring housing market represented a key mortgage acquisition period and one of the most significant opportunities in the fiscal year for the bank’s profit and business growth. Fewer buyers would mean decreased demand for mortgages, meaning TD would need to compete harder than ever for its share of available mortgage deals in the spring of 2013, without a superior interest rate offer to drive consideration.

Insight & Strategy: The prevalent consumer perception was that all mortgage products were the same, and that interest rates were the only reason to choose one bank’s mortgage over another’s. TD had identified a key mortgage feature – called a “Mortgage Payment Vacation” – that allowed homeowners to take up to a four-month “break” from their mortgage payments. TD’s competitors had introduced a similar feature of their own by 2013, but no one else was communicating it. A cultural scan showed that while the target group had parents encouraging them to buy a house and to stop “throwing away money on rent,” they worried that mortgage payments would restrict them from acting on their other plans in life, making them slaves to their mortgage.

Execution: Running from March 4 to May 10, 2013, the “Dear Mortgage” campaign featured homebuyers writing “Dear John” letters to their potential mortgages, demonstrating all the different ways that homeowners could take time off from their mortgage payments to explore other things in life. With Payment Vacations from TD, it was about having the flexibility to own a home and make their other dreams a reality, too.

A series of print, OOH, standard online banners and in-branch ads depicted young homebuyers who had used a TD Payment Vacation to re-frame their relationship with their mortgage. Newspaper inserts took a “scrapbook” approach to documenting different TD Payment Vacation scenarios while a live artist wrote “Dear Mortgage” letters on an interactive 130-foot OOH display, which was filmed and run on YouTube and TD’s Facebook page. Social initiatives and content partnership with Metro newspaper helped deliver more than 36.5 million impressions.

Results: As a result of the “Dear Mortgage” campaign, total mortgage deals entered exceeded the forecast at 115% over 13 weeks while the campaign outperformed all competitors on generating incremental traffic among non-customer.

Cause & Effect: The mortgage market experienced a decline of 30% in April and 7% in May 2013 compared to 2012 while TD had an increase of entered deals by 23% in April and 6% in May, despite TD being consistently outspent by its competitors in both Q1 and Q2. No unusual pricing activity ran versus previous years or versus the competition. In fact, BMO offered the lowest rate during the same campaign period while CIBC offered a cash back mortgage with up to 3% cash back.

Client: TD Bank
Advertising manager: Noah Vardon
Sr. advertising manager: Anne Kerekes
Marketing planning RESL: Brocke Weir
AVP field marketing & branch banking: Elizabeth Walford
Associate manager, in-branch merc: Janet Brown
Associate advertising manager: Mary Anne McEvoy
Managers, marketing: Kent Hadfield, Anna Hannem
Associate managers, marketing: Nick Hinsperger, Keith Laing
Sr. manager in-branch merch: Kim Warren
Marketing research: Andy Wood
Sr. manager marketing research: Ruben Jurik
Agency: Leo Burnett
CCO: Judy John
CD: Stefan Wegner
CW: Sean Barlow
Art producers: Paul Giannetta, Laurie Filgiano
Print producer: Barry Durocher
Broadcast producer: Emma DuBoisson
Account executive: Sarah Colman
Account supervisor: Chris Saunders
SVP group account director: Lori Davison
SVP director of strategic planning: Brent Nelson
Planner: Jason Last
Photographer: Arash Moallemi
SVP: Christine Wilson