Interac taps your heartstrings

The company's second short film this spring dives into the emotional benefits of its "Be In The Black" platform.

Interac’s latest execution of its “Be In The Black” platform is using a new short film to tell a heartwarming story about what it’s like to use “your own money.”

Working with Zulu Alpha Kilo, “The Surprise” shows a young boy, clearly pining after a puppy, working odd jobs around his neighbourhood to save money for his piggy bank. As the video goes on, and the boy’s parents become frustrated with their credit card debt, they learn a lesson from him about saving money that they put to use when they get finally get him his pet – though it isn’t the one you might be expecting.

Media Experts handled the media buy, with Tank handling creative for the French market.

Previous executions of the “Be In The Black” platform used more tongue-in-cheek creative to drive home the functional, financial benefits of avoiding credit card debt by using debit. Andrea Danovitch, director of marketing and brand strategy at Interac, says the company was purposely looking for something that also communicated the more personal benefits.

“In the past we’ve not only been tongue-in-cheek, but ‘anti-credit,’” she says. “That’s been a great way to demonstrate what we’re about, but we also want to be cognizant of showing the other side, and showing the reasons why – outside of comparison with credit – why it feels good to pay with your own money. There’s a sense of pride that comes with working hard for your money, and you place a different value on what you buy when you do it with the money you really do have.”

The format and media plan behind “The Surprise” is similar to “Dogs With Credit,” a more humorous short film released last month, with a social and digital push and movie-style posters in Cineplex theatres driving to it.

“For our spring campaign, the plan was to go out first with ‘Pets With Credit,’ which is more of our traditional jab at credit, with some humour to make it approachable and engage in conversations that are a bit easier to have when you’re looking at it in a way that’s not judgmental and people don’t feel afraid to speak about something as serious as debt,” Danovitch says. “Then, we wanted to go out with a fast follow-up and show the flip side to that and have it be more emotional.”

There are a few differences in the media plan, though, as Danovitch says the company wanted to give “The Surprise” a bit of extra help. Interac has also created 15-second videos airing on TV and online featuring kids imitating the frustration they’ve seen their parents express toward their own debt, and driving to the full short film, while a 90-second version of the film will be airing in Cineplex theatres.

Danovitch says the brand is centring its spring campaign around a pair of short films, as opposed to the more traditional TV spots it had previously relied on for “Be In The Black,” to engage with a different kind of audience and start conversations around debt and finances, something Interac has already seen with “Pets With Credit.” Focusing on longer stories also allows the brand to dive deeper into the more subtle benefits behind its anti-credit mission.

“When we launched ‘Be In The Black,’ it allowed us to have a bolder voice in the market and for people to take notice of us and grab hold of what we do very quickly,” Danovich says. “Now that’s been out for a couple years, we’re trying to go beneath the surface and say, ‘You know it’s better to be in the black instead of the red, but here’s why.’ We got the attention and stood for something, and now we can tell our story in a richer way. And it’s hard to do that sometimes in a 30-second TV commercial.”