Invesco QQQ: How Invesco QQQ Helped College Students Become More Financially Literate


Campaign Summary

Invesco QQQ created a student-centric, edutainment, mobile-first web experience to help college students take ownership of their financial futures and learn how to navigate the complex financial systems.



In late 2019, Invesco and its Invesco QQQ exchange-traded fund (ETF)entered a five-year corporate sponsorship deal as the official asset management partner and ETF of the NCAA. With this partnership came the opportunity to create the official financial education program of the NCAA. While only 14 percent of college students have taken a non-credit financial literacy course, over 60 percent of students are interested in learning more about managing their money.

Following two years of research and development, Invesco QQQ launched "How Not to Suck at Money" (HNTSAM) in 2021. HNTSAM is a truly student-centric and disruptive mobile first, web-based experience free to users. Learning takes place in a semi-surreal college where players navigate through various money dilemmas in choice-based gameplay.

The challenge of making the game a success was connecting with a generation Z audience, which is difficult to reach with traditional marketing efforts and had very little brand association and recognition of Invesco QQQ. To authentically reach college students, Invesco QQQ found ways to meet students where they were, and understand that not all students were starting from the same financial knowledge base. By showing up on campus with approachable, intriguing, and immersive experiences, Invesco QQQ was able to start measuring engagement, brand awareness, and game participation.

Target Audience:

U.S. college students aged 18 to 24 were the primary target audience for the game, which would help Invesco QQQ connect with future investors around the country.

Creative Strategy:

To create an exciting look and feel, HNTSAM was designed with artwork from Spanish artist Jose Mendez. Mendez's unique style has been featured with other prominent brands including Nike, Puma, and more. The bright, vibrant game atmosphere was meant to align with popular culture and the attitudes of generation Z.

Building off the launch of modern video games, Invesco QQQ created a trailer to drive awareness and created a standalone digital experience to gather emails ahead of the launch. Over the past year, the game has grown through paid and organic social, influencers, sports personalities, targeted digital placements, and partnership opportunities with the NCAA and eight individual school athletic departments.

Partners included:

  • Grant Hill (342,000 Instagram followers)
  • Candace Parker (1 million Instagram followers)
  • Jessica Mendoza (85,600 Instagram followers)
  • Vivian Tu (2 million TikTok followers)
  • Kenny Beecham (1.25 million YouTube followers)
  • Taylor Rooks (518,000 Instagram followers)
  • Hailey Van Lith (708,000 Instagram followers)
  • Tara Davis (354,000 Instagram followers)
  • Jaylon Smith (469,000 Instagram followers)
  • Amy Rodriguez (119,000 Instagram followers)
  • Swin Cash (90,000 Instagram followers)
  • Taylor Price (1.1 million TikTok followers)
  • Jaiden Fields (23,000 Instagram followers)
  • Naia Butler-Craig (9,500 Instagram followers)
  • Chrissy Carr (19,500 Instagram followers)
  • Kevin Parada (11,400 Instagram followers)

School partners included:

  • Georgetown
  • Georgia
  • Georgia Tech
  • Illinois
  • Northwestern
  • Syracuse
  • Texas
  • USC


HNTSAM is entering its second year. Over the course of the first year of promotion, the game's promotional strategy has adapted to be more targeted in nature both with the audience and within the game itself. Insights revealed that sometimes students were only interested in specific modules of the game rather than the full experience, which led to individually linkable assets being produced to bring students to the topics they wanted to learn about most.

Game promotion was also more targeted through influencers and on-campus experiences, with student-athletes to help educate and inform them about the game. These events have allowed HNTSAM to be showcased in front of captive audiences as a tie-in to Invesco QQQ's school partnerships.


Overall Campaign Execution:

To reach ambitious college students, Invesco QQQ utilized multiple targeting parameters to efficiently and effectively reach and drive game plays. The brand partnered with Quizlet, HerCampus, Chegg, and Spotify to customize the experience and support people that wanted to learn more about finance.

Each channel played its specific role in driving each part of the funnel. Spotify utilized a custom algorithm to find college students that were studying. Vevo was able to serve ads to people who were actively listening. Quizlet and Chegg focused on moments where students were seeking on resources. Moreover, Invesco QQQ leveraged multiple programmatic targeting parameters that were constantly optimized to make sure the brand reached the right students at the right time.

Throughout the campaign optimizations were made to balance contextual alignment (HerCampus, Quizlet, Chegg) versus third-party party targeting segments to drive qualified game plays. By looking at consumer journeys and seeing the optimal touchpoints for consumers, Invesco QQQ was able to shift impressions towards more retargeting and behavioral targeting to increase frequency that drove more game plays.

Mobile Execution:

Outside of social media, more than three fourths of all impressions were on a mobile device. When including social media, more than nine out of every 10 impressions were on mobile.

Business Impact (including context, evaluation, and market impact)

HNTSAM garnered three million site visits, 115,000 game plays, 10,000 email subscriptions, 219 million paid media impressions, and a 98-percent positive social media sentiment with users expressing interest in the game or resonating with influencer messaging. Influencers, student athletes, and Invesco QQQ's Financial Education Board of Advisors helped generate a total of 851,2000 organic impressions, and 5.3 million paid social media impressions. On campus activations have been met with positive results: At Georgia Tech, more than three quarters of undergrads were able to recall the Invesco brand and found the campaign was innovative and favorable.

Verbatims from student users have been positive. Comments included:

  • "The game really gave me the proper information to set up the base knowledge for someone in college to get an idea about how to manage money and make other major decisions." — College Freshman (Game UX Testing, 2021)
  • "Feels like a fun way to learn and the information is useful and relevant." — College Senior (Game UX Testing, 2022)
  •  "Many of the things I didn't know the meaning of before were explained in a comprehensive manner so I can say I understand them better; plus, there were things I didn't know were important to consider that were brought to my attention when I wouldn't have known prior." — College Sophomore (Game UX Testing, 2021)

Categories: | Industries: | Objectives: Brand Experience | Awards: NA Silver Winner