Why Nesto made infomercials for its strongest markets

The online mortgage broker is targeting conversion where it is more established and brand building where it remains a challenger.


The marketing playbook typically instructs brands try to establish themselves and drive initial consideration through direct advertising before graduating to broader awareness campaigns.

But in the markets where it is well-established, online mortgage broker Nesto is turning that idea on its head.

The high-level idea was conceived by Martin Aubut, who joined Nesto as CMO last year, and Malik Yacoubi, its CEO, “born growth marketers,” says Aubut.

“We started thinking about how we could be bolder about who we are, and Malik was sending me [direct response TV] spots of people selling knives. We were laughing and joking about how they are pretty much the base of marketing, and we thought: why don’t we do the best DRTV ad we can imagine?” Aubut explains. “We truly believe in the power of the brand, specifically in the finance sector. People want to do business with companies they can trust and they are critical about it because a mortgage is one of the biggest decisions they make in their lives.”

While the spot is an attempt to take a more creative and refined approach to an infomercial – there are no flustered people struggling to accomplish basic tasks, or loud spokespeople putting a product through ridiculous trials – some of the hallmarks of the format remain. It features reviews and testimonies, a phone number and web address in the lower third, and is built around a “low rate guarantee” – a commitment that if people find a cheaper rate on mortgage, the company will give them $500.

While it’s still early, Nesto is already pleased with the awareness the DRTV spot is driving for the guarantee. “We like the energy from the people at the call centre, and we see in social listening and what it drives with our branded keywords that people understand clearly what we have and they ask the advisors about the low rate guarantee,” says Aubut.

As a result, the strategy is simple: in markets where Nesto’s brand awareness has “matured” – such as Quebec – it is directing the larger share of its ad spend to the DRTV campaign in an effort to convert those who already know about the brand into customers.

In other markets where Nesto is still trying to establish itself as a challenger brand, it is spending heavily on more traditional brand building ads. Those are part of the “Low From The Get Go” campaign that launched last year. The campaign, built around a janitor accomplishing impressive feats , was updated in January with new creative and six-second formats tailored to pre-roll.

The campaign was developed in a co-creation process with the Nesto Team and Cossette’s creative team. Cossette handled production, while Jungle handled the media. It will air through the month of May, and those in the Toronto market will be able to catch the spots during Maple Leafs NHL playoff games. “The Habs are playing golf at the moment,” Aubut quips.