While the launch of Citi’s Double Cash card was a successful one, the brand knew it had to elevate the product beyond a simple cash-back proposition in order to retain market share. Citi spoke directly to its target audience — card users who typically didn’t spend enough to reap the benefits of most rewards cards — in an immersive, cross-channel campaign.
Objective and Context:
In 2014, Citi launched the new Citi Double Cash card that gave card users 1 percent cash back on purchases, and another 1 percent cash back when they paid their bill. A cash-back card that rewarded people for bill payment was a way to encourage responsible financial behavior and give consumers rewards for something other than spending money they didn’t have. The launch was a success, but two years later, Citi was concerned that a competitor might try to take market share by offering more cash back to card users. To protect its product, Citi developed a campaign to communicate the card’s benefits beyond the cash back offer.
Citi’s target audience consists of suburbanites building a life for themselves. They typically have a house, a young family, and a sense of community. They work hard to be financially responsible, but often carry a balance from month to month to make ends meet or to purchase bigger-ticket items.
This is an important audience for Citi because it represents mass banking attitudes and behaviors and drives volume for its cards business. Because this audience often doesn’t spend as much as people who are able to take advantage of rewards cards, it is an audience that’s overlooked by most card issuers.
Citi used humor based on consumer insights and used narrative storytelling to bridge the gap between the stories banks tell and consumers’ reality. The brand created a world where people say what they mean and mean what they say.
Overall Campaign Execution:
Citi took the best of each channel’s execution and created uniquely mobile experiences, using TV ads to create vertical videos, Snapchat ads, and subtitled Facebook videos to immerse consumers in the Citi brand experience.
Citi created a mobile unit that showcased the campaign’s different video assets, as well as a custom mobile in-game unit that offered gamers a reward for watching a video after completing a goal in the game. This allowed the brand to target consumers during key moments of achievement, which tied back to the campaign’s creative messaging. Since 92 percent of time spent in mobile is in portrait mode, Citi created vertical video assets to distribute through social platforms such as Snapchat and Facebook. Mobile was also used to retarget consumers who saw Citi’s video spot on OTT media to re-engage them on another screen.
The Double Cash campaign drove consumers to find out more about the card, driving significant increases in traffic from natural search (80 percent) and from people directly typing the URL seen in Citi’s TV spots and out-of-home advertising (91 percent). Most importantly, card acquisitions increased by 7 percent within three months of the launch, and existing cardholders used their cards more, with spend increasing by 12 percent within the same three-month period.