Scotiabank looks to get on the right foot with new Canadians

The bank's "First Day" campaign aims to talk with, not at, recent immigrants about their challenges.


Scotiabank wants to market to newcomers to Canada without patronizing them by offering advice from Canadians who have walked in their shoes.

The “First Day” campaign launched at the end of May and will run for the rest of the year in support of Scotiabank’s StartRight program, which offers newcomers a year of cost-free products and relevant advice designed to help them get established in their new country.

A 60-second video features Arjun Sharma, who immigrated to Toronto 17 years ago, with voice over narration from himself in the present. He provides the kind of financial and life advice that he and other new Canadians wish they had received when they first immigrated, a way to demonstrate that Scotiabank understands and appreciates the many hardships involved in the decision to leave one’s home country.

“Moving to a new country can be overwhelming,” says Erin McGrath, director of consumer marketing at Scotiabank. “Navigating a new city, its services and forging new banking relationships often pose challenges for newcomers. Banks often seem to talk at newcomers, rather than talking to them about their struggles, worries and goals.”

As a newcomer, choosing a bank can be as difficult as it is essential. While each brand has unique colour and branding, the websites and storefront can blend together. What separates Scotiabank from its competitors is its desire to truly understand and empathize with its customers, allowing it to provide personalized advice to give Canadians confidence and help them get off on the right foot, says McGrath.

The timing for “First Day” is important because newcomers represent a large growth opportunity for all businesses, banks included. In 2021, 405,000 people became permanent residents, with an estimated 430,000 immigrants expected to arrive in Canada in 2022 and even more expected over the next two years. Combined with the insight that recommendations from family or friends is one of the most compelling motivators for newcomers to choose their first bank, Scotiabank has an opportunity to build relationships with potential customers as they begin their new life in Canada.

The campaign was led by Rethink and the video will air on TV and in cinemas. It will include digital ads and OOH displays such as billboards and bus ads.