BMO breaks biases towards women and money

This year's International Women's Day campaign looks to tackle a major hurdle to financial confidence.

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Women hold roughly 40% of the world’s wealth, but 57% still wish they were more confident in their financial decision making, according to a 2019 Allianz Life report.

For its latest International Women’s Day campaign, BMO wanted to dig into the root cause of this confidence gap by shedding light on the stereotypes and “subtle, but pervasive language” that exists in society when it comes to women and money.

“It is important for us to raise consciousness of the problem and open up a dialogue about how we all can start to change it together,” says Catherine Roche, chief marketing officer and head, social impact at BMO Financial Group.

Past International Women’s Day efforts from BMO have focused on women in business leadership roles, but Roche says one of the main goals of this campaign is to break financial stereotypes for all girls, women and to better shape their financial futures. That fits with BMO’s brand purpose to “boldly grow the good in business and life” through making the future more sustainable and society more inclusive. That, in turn, helps more Canadians participate more actively in the economy by making it “more accessible and vibrant.”

The two-and-a-half minute spot shows a girl going through life subtly conditioned to be financially dependent and reliant on someone else, oftentimes their male significant-other.

When she is doing her homework, her father tells her to “marry rich.” When she is grown up, a contractor working on her house asks if he should send the quote to her husband.

This shows that the “unconscious bias” that still exists in society is perpetuated not just by the media, but also how families discuss the topic of money to women and girls.

“By highlighting this societal issue that prevents women from reaching their financial potential, we are also bringing awareness to all of the ways that BMO is committed to the advancement of women,” Roche says. “I would love nothing more than to say that we live in a society that talks to everyone the same way about money. But, the data tells a different story. Many women don’t feel as confident in their financial futures as their male counterparts.”

Roche cites how, in 2018, BMO committed to advancing $3 billion in capital to women-owned businesses across Canada over three years. She also noted how BMO Financial Group became the first Canadian bank to sign the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles. According to BMO, 41% of its senior leadership positions are held by women.

Roche says that the campaign message isn’t designed for any one audience, but that their target is more universal, in that “everyone can relate [to] it either [with] their own experience, or an experience of someone they know.”

FCB Canada led creative for the campaign with UM on media, running on social media and in digital video.The campaign will be a part of a month–long push. The spot will appear on BMO’s LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels.