Scotiabank tries to put financial worries to rest to get clients sleeping better

The bank recasts its advice offering as a sleep aid, tapping into a top stressor over the last two years.


Scotiabank’s new campaign for investment season is built around helping Canadians who stay up at night concerned about their finances, a phenomenon it says has spiked during lockdowns.

The spot leading the new “Sleep Advisor” campaign features insomniacs fretting over stocks, NFTs, home ownership, and urges viewers to trial Scotiabank’s litany of investment tools to allay worries, get answers to their question and, as a result, get better sleep.

The “Sleep Advisor” is not necessarily a new product or offering; rather, it’s recasting the bank’s out-of-branch advice offering and advisor booking system (the phone number for which is now “1-833-SLE=EEEP”) as something.

All of the ads in the integrated campaign, from the out-of-home executions to the radio spots, are created in a way that’s meant to evoke being up at night. There are also contextual ads on YouTube and digital OOH served up between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. to meet Canadians losing sleep where they are. Rethink handled creative, with PHD on media.

The positioning, according to John Rocco, its VP of Canadian bank marketing, is focused on real, relatable customer truths in addition to the functional aspects of Scotia’s investment products, using what he describes as a subtle and sophisticated humor that’s rooted in reality.

“Investing and financial worry impacts virtually all Canadians, and this worrying keeps them up at night,” Rocco maintains. “If we can offer advice, products and services that alleviate these woes, we do so much more than just affect their financial lives – we change all aspects of their lives.”

The approach is informed by the bank’s research, which reveals that Canadians spend an average of 10 hours a week, the equivalent of three weeks a year, worrying about their finances, a figure that’s up 25% from 2020.

According to Rocco, banks love to talk about all the products and services they have, and their offers. “But Scotia doesn’t want to be just about banks and banking,” he says. “So we’re widening the view with our messaging by showing how good advice and leading with empathy doesn’t just yield positive financial results but makes all aspects of life better.”


The campaign launch coincides with winter “Investment Season,” whose onset is December and which culminates in the RRSP contribution deadline at the beginning of March. The target, Rocco says, is a broad one.

Cutdowns are built around more specific concerns, such as those related retirement, real estate and stocks, based on learnings from some of its most-searched questions, and culturally relevant questions to stand out and capture the audience’s attention.

“This is why we didn’t highlight the more traditional ‘what is an RRSP’ type of questions on TV,” Rocco says.

In December, the bank announced it had big plans for its merged loyalty program, and will be launching a series of onboarding programs for Scene+.