Simplii looks to smooth foreign currency exchanges

CIBC's digital banking brand focuses on a service more associated with branches as part of its focus on convenience.


Cash is still king in many places, and Simplii is reminding users that physical bank branches aren’t required to get it.

With its latest campaign creative, CIBC’s direct banking brand is emphasizing the ease of ordering foreign cash by likening ordering currency to ordering food straight from one’s phone. Juniper Park\TBWA’s in-house content studio, Bolt Content, produced a series of stop motion videos to represent some of the the most popular currencies offered (like Mexican pesos) in brief six-second spots.

According to the brand’s insights, 80% of respondents said they’d rather bank online than in-branch. In July, Simplii was the first among Canada’s digital-only banks to offer international money transfers and foreign cash delivery, offering 65 currencies. In a statement, senior VP, CIBC digital & direct banking and head of Simplii, Aayaz Pira, said that having foreign currency delivered straight to your door at no extra cost, eliminates the hassle and saves time to focus on other travel details. The move targeted digitally minded urbanites. 

Rob Assimakopoulos, CMO at Simplii Financial, tells strategy that conveniently accessing foreign currency is an emerging need. While it is a service most consumers associate with going in-branch, focusing on that in its marketing helps Simplii consolidate the brand’s messaging as an institution that offers ease-of-use financial solutions, going beyond its “digital only” proposition.

Assimakopoulos says when Simplii launched its first mass awareness campaign last year, it was to demonstrate how it simplifies people’s lives more generally. With the follow up, the digital-only campaign effort is focusing on how different, more niche products, like foreign cash orders without fees, make things simple for users.

“Not everyone needs these benefits at the same time,” he says, and the digital deep-dive targeting allows the brand to target audience cohorts who are most likely to take in this service, particularly the leisure traveler.

While people will pay for convenience in the foreign exchange space, Assimakopoulos say they still want good rates, adding that exchange rates from the large banks are some of the best out there. For these type of transactions, banking centres are still very much sought after by all age cohorts, he says, because of richer advisory interactions and planning services, but offering convenience at no extra cost is a way to separate itself from the traditional banks, in addition to digital-only competition like Tangerine.

Media planning for the campaign was handled by MediaCom. It is set to be on air through social channels and digital pre-roll and will be refreshed with a series of videos specific to high-indexing travel periods.