In this new episode of the Marketing Week Explores podcast, acting features editor Charlotte Rogers catches up with MoneySuperMarket marketing director Lloyd Page and Annie Gallimore, managing director of Engine Creative, to discuss how they developed new creative at the onset of the Covid-19 lockdown.
Page quickly realised that many people across the UK were experiencing financial anxieties due to the nationwide lockdown and that MoneySuperMarket’s ‘Get Money Calm’ positioning was needed more than ever.
However, with consumer sentiment shifting amid a climate of fear and an existing campaign ready to go, the teams at MoneySuperMarket and Engine had to consider how to strike the right tone to fit the “economic mood”.
“It was obvious to us that we needed to pause and reconsider our plans, and really react to what people were feeling and consider how best MoneySuperMarket could most meaningfully help people in this moment,” Page explains.
With a new campaign scheduled to go live on 21 March, Page and Gallimore agreed – in the space of two days – that the campaign needed to be adapted, by which time both of their teams had already begun remote working.
Cross-functional teams were set up across the MoneySuperMarket business, including in the marketing department which conducted an audit of existing communications. The brand knew this was not the time to pull back from marketing, but a decision had to be taken as to what form any new campaign would take.
Gallimore worked with her team at Engine to flex the MoneySuperMarket tone of voice to fit the climate of financial crisis. They fundamentally believed it was necessary to retain the brand tone and stay true to the identity, although questions remained over what level of humour was appropriate for the current situation.
“Is it ok to make jokes and entertain when times are so difficult, when they are so tough? At the beginning, in mid-March, they [the times] were scary and actually humour didn’t really feel quite right,” Gallimore explains. “But should a brand that is known for a lightness suddenly become serious?”
The idea was to adapt the MoneySuperMarket tone of voice, which had always been focused on the individual, to suggest the idea of “being in it together”, while retaining the brand’s characteristic lightness.
Page explains this was a balancing act that played into the core principles of marketing.
“What we’ve found is that the foundational principles of good marketing communications still remain,” he states. “You still want your message to cut through, you still want to connect with your target audience and for us our tone of voice is a key part of that, but equally it’s balancing the mood of the nation.”
The new creative kicked off on 11 April with a message about the value of switching your energy provider, which could represent a saving of 50% to UK consumers at a time when more of us are using energy at home.
The second phase was a message explaining the benefit of assessing your direct debits, based on insight suggesting the UK wastes £25bn a year in unwanted direct debits. While this message was not tied to any specific product, it was an example of the brand showing consumers how they could take better control of their finances during the crisis.
MoneySuperMarket has also spent the lockdown updating its money saving guides, which have so far reached 400,000 hits, and the team has developed a tool to help consumers arrange a mortgage holiday, which to date has been used by more than 10,000 people.