Why an OVO partnership makes sense for RBC

The bank believes working with the lifestyle brand will help promote its entrepreneurship efforts and attract more younger customers.

RBC is aiming to elevate the next generation of entrepreneurs and create more affinity with younger customers interested in music and lifestyle as it promotes Drake’s OVO brand and the OVO Summit.

Passes to the Summit, an immersive conference for Canadian creatives and lifestyle entrepreneurs looking to grow their careers, sold out in minutes. Sales were first announced via Frenzy, a streetwear and sneaker app that promises to bypass lineups. The app call to action was all about doing something different in terms of ticket distribution, says Matt McGlynn, vice-president, brand marketing, RBC.

The “coolest” part of the RBC / OVO campaign, McGlynn says, is that it’s a mix of traditional and progressive tactics. He says the brand used cryptic billboard messaging (“Live it,” “Earn it,”) downtown in popular thoroughfares like the Spadina corridor, a tactic common among lifestyle brands and used by Drake to promote previous album releases. It also employed direct mail, working with OVO and brand consultant Carry Corp to execute the campaign, which involved 25,000 geo-targeted mailers aimed at GTA youth between the ages of 18 and 29. “A lot of people took pictures of the letter with the OVO logo, and put it on social media,” McGlynn says. “Everything ends up in digital in the end.”

On Tuesday, the brand launched a digital spot about Oliver El-Khatib, one of OVO’s co-founders, with a soundtrack scored by Canadian producer, OVO Sound co-founder and frequent Drake collaborator, Noah ‘40’ Shebib.

According to McGlynn, the Oliver El-Khatib digital piece was one of the tactics the brand built to tout his inspirational backstory, tenacity, worth ethic and resilience, which would resonate with its target demo. “If you put all these attributes together,” McGlynn says, “you’re most likely to reach your professional goals.”

“It was a bit of a different approach on this particular campaign working with a creative powerhouse like OVO as well as an agency, which is something we haven’t really done before,” McGlynn says. “It was a tripartite way to get to a final product.”

The OVO partnership, he says, is about two iconic Canadian brands coming together, so much so that the bank has a co-branded logo in the spot, turning black and gold along with OVO. OVO has a lot of equity in different spaces than RBC, associated with lifestyle, fashion and music, McGlynn says, while RBC has the scale that comes with being one of the largest banks in Canada.

The Summit will attract a wide demographic of entrepreneurs and creators, he says. “For any company, young people are essential to our business model. They’re the future and the pipeline.”

The partnership crosses several different pillars for the bank, McGlynn says. It builds upon RBC’s Future Launch (the big bank’s “commitment to help young Canadians prepare for a drastically changing workforce”) and in-house startup development lab, as well as helps to grow the bank’s long-running RBC Music platform.

McGlynn adds that they are still working on further product and business integration. This first foray, however, is all about telling a story about the brand partnership.



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