PayPal debuts Xoom in Canada with Usain Bolt

The international digital money transfer service is targeting immigrant consumers.


As PayPal launches international digital money transfer service Xoom in Canada, the payments company has announced a new global ambassador and campaign aimed at reaching immigrant segments in need of transferring money to foreign markets.

Launched in 2001 and acquired by PayPal for $890 million in 2015, Xoom allows customers to deposit money directly to a bank account, to send cash for pickup or to have cash delivered directly to a recipient’s home. Historically, PayPal customers could only send money internationally between people with PayPal accounts, so Xoom makes transfers more accessible to customers by enabling transfers in new ways, says Julian King, VP at PayPal and general manager of Xoom.

More than a fifth of the Canadian population are immigrants, and the ratio is much higher in major cites like Toronto, where immigrants can represent around half the population. Moreover, Xoom will aim to capture the business of the country’s 7.5 million foreign-born people who send approximately $24 billion a year in remittances, the top three destinations being China, India and the Philippines, according to a 2014 Pew Pew Research Center survey.

Overall, Canada – where immigrants send more dollars per capita than those in almost any other country worldwide – represents an untapped opportunity for the brand. At the same time, it supports PayPal’s larger mission of “democratizing access to financial services, pay management and movement of money,” King says.

To date, Xoom has focused most of its global marketing on reaching this target through TV, online and print executions. The new global effort is taking a similar approach with the Canadian market, according to King.

The campaign spot, “Money Go Xoom”, launching later this month in Canada and the U.S., shows customers sending a variety of currencies to recipients worldwide.

“We wanted to create a fresh, new approach that was perhaps not as saccharine as sometimes you see in the category,” he says, explaining that there’s a “sense of optimism and dynamism, of agency and control that we wanted to express, because we see that in our customers.”

Along with the launch, Xoom has signed eight-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt as its global ambassador through 2020. The retired Jamaican sprinter embodies the notion of speed – a pillar of Xoom’s brand positioning – and has also expressed a “shared sense of concern” for people in developing communities worldwide. In the past, Xoom has worked with market-relevant influencers, such as Indian movie star Amitabh Bachchan, and others in the Philippines and in Latin America.

Creative was led by M/H VCCP’s San Francisco office, with the help of Eat Big Fish on strategy. Locally, Edelman is managing PR.