Campaign Trail: NerdWallet solves the financial problems of foot draggers and fence keepers


Campaign Trail is our analysis of some of the best new creative efforts in the marketing world. View past columns in the archive here.

Making financial decisions about everything from credit card rewards to mortgages can be daunting, even in times of relative certainty. Inflation and the possibility of a recession only exacerbate the problem, as does the internet, where reading financial tips and tricks can feel like drinking from a fire hose.

NerdWallet, a personal finance website and app, seeks to ease the pressure on consumers with side-by-side comparisons and the expertise of its 100-strong editorial team, whom it calls “nerds.”

To drive awareness of its brand and value proposition, the company last month launched its first campaign with newly named creative agency, Deutsch LA. At the heart of “Smartest Decision” are campaign spots that revolve around idioms – dragging your feet, sitting on the fence – and how a NerdWallet nerd can save the day and make a decision.

“This campaign really got into that universal truth of financial decision-making: it’s hard,” said Alison McGlone, senior brand manager at NerdWallet. “We bring this to life, [and] for the first time ever, we are bringing to life in our creation the heroes behind all the work we do.”

Bringing nerds to life

At NerdWallet, the nerds are the ones who do the research and dig into the nitty-gritty of financial products, driving the company’s financial comparison engine and serving as its heartbeat. In the digital spots, the nerds do the same thing: help the characters reach moments of clarity and competence and come to a decision.

“Our NerdWallet nerds are so passionate about the work they do and the advice they provide,” McGlone said. “I love how the spots portray these nerds.”

The 30-second commercials, “Dragging Your Feet” and “On The Fence”, are aptly named. In the first, a woman, aided by special effects, drags her feet through a picnic, a softball game and the library. In the second, a man sits on the fence, much to the chagrin of his exasperated partner. Both problems are solved when NerdWallet nerds show up and get things back on track with the NerdWallet app. The spots combine original visuals with an illustration of the company’s product.

“We tried to find a way to dramatize those moments of indecision in a very relevant way, but we also wanted something very visual that we thought could really grab viewers from the first frame,” Ryan said. Lehr, Executive Creative Director. at Deutsch LA.

Like other brand mascots – think Flo from Progressive or Jake from State Farm – nerds can serve as a “clean asset” for NerdWallet’s marketing, with their green casual attire tied to the company’s brand image. ‘company. But the agency also worked to make the characters warm, relatable, and memorable.

“We really put a lot of rigor into trying to give these nerds some personality,” Lehr said. “We spent a lot of time tweaking the details of the nerds because we wanted them to appear on screen.”

Meet consumers where they are

Personal finance decision-making is just that: personal. As a brand, NerdWallet wants to present itself to consumers during these personal moments with relevance and reliability. This strategy is encountered not only in the creation of the campaign, but also in a media strategy developed by Mediahub.

“We seek to meet you where you are,” McGlone said. “Sometimes financial decision-making is in the big moments, like getting a mortgage or buying a house, and sometimes it’s in the little moments like, ‘What’s the best credit card for me to travel to see? my favorite team to play?'”

Leveraging out-of-home, social and over-the-top digital channels, the campaign’s media strategy targets consumer passion points, from games to sports to music, connecting NerdWallet’s offering to the making of better financial decisions in a way that allows them to maximize those experiences.

In an extension of the campaign, NerdWallet will become the official “Bye Week” notification sponsor within Yahoo Fantasy Football throughout the season. Formerly owned by State Farm, the sponsorship incorporates the brand into a weekly video series in which Yahoo Fantasy hosts highlight “smart decisions” in fantasy football.

With campaign spots focused on solving relevant issues and a media strategy focused on consumer passions, NerdWallet and Deutsch LA see the “smartest decision” as the way to bring visibility during tough economic times where the brand’s offer could be even more attractive. .

“It seems very relevant right now to a lot of people,” Lehr said. “It feels like you’re constantly surrounded by news and inflation…Everywhere you look there seems to be a reason why you potentially can’t make a decision or at least be a little afraid of make a decision. It really feels like a relevant time to be the personal finance space.”


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