Zelle Channels Yearbook Photos in Quirky Ads About Sending Money

Huge puts a creative spin on use cases

Zelle, the digital payments network that's the big banks' answer to Venmo, is out with a quirky new campaign from Huge that plays around with yearbook-photo type visuals to communicate use cases for the service. 

In a handful of 30- and 15-second spots running online, characters who appear to be ready to have their photo taken suddenly start speaking to the camera about how they'd like to have money wired into their bank account—rather than presented as a check, or even a gift. 

"School" is probably the most amusing of the bunch. In it, a college student explains how his dad ludicrously sent him 19 sticks of deodorant as a joke—which is funny and all, but couldn't he have just sent some spending money instead? 

Two other :30s proceed along the same lines. In one, a man bemoans being gifted chocolate, which he can't even eat. (He'd prefer getting cash to buy his own gift for himself.) In another, a woman is flummoxed by the ancient inconvenience of receiving a paper check—rather than having money sent to her via Zelle. 

Jason Musante, global chief creative officer at Huge, tells Muse that the campaign rides a fine line—being quirky and charming without veering into overly weird. He credited the creative team of Armando Flores and Sara Worthington with finding the right balance. 

"They're a very talented team who were able to take a writing style that feels honest and fresh and find scenarios we've all been in but put a spin on it—both in the art direction and design as well as the writing," he says. "They feel just to the right of normal." 

The end line is "Gift Better." The campaign as a whole is titled "Everyday Better." 

Below are the :15s. 

Zelle made a splash in 2018 with a launch campaign from Huge that was focused on awareness. A colorful spot featuring Hamilton star Daveed Diggs and a large cast, all speaking in rhyming couplets, aired on the Grammys and Super Bowl pregame. 

The new work, running online and in mobile, is more about explaining daily opportunities to use Zelle, which is available within many banking apps. 

"With this round of work, we're trying to thread the needle in appealing to an older demographic who might see the work as nostaglic and retro, as well as a younger demographic who sees it as fun and kitchy and analog, which appeals to them," says Musante. 

The poppy feel of the campaign, including the un-bank-like use of the color purple, is meant to feel "more Silicon Valley than Wall Street," he adds. 

"Our strategy reaches people across their daily or habitual behaviors—from their commute to the programs and content they consume, and across their social media channels," says Melissa Lowry, VP of brand and marketing at Early Warning, the network operator of Zelle. "And most importantly, the campaign shows all the ways that Zelle is delivering on the brand promise: When money moves, life happens." 

CREDITS

Client: Zelle
Campaign Title: "Everyday Better"
Agency: Huge BKLN
Chief Creative Officer, Huge Global: Jason Musante
Group Creative Director, Huge BKLN: Sara Worthington
Group Creative Director, Huge BKLN: Armando Flores
Associate Creative Director, Huge BKLN: Andrew Tobin (art)
Associate Creative Director, Huge BKLN: Nick Novich (copy)
Executive Producer, Huge BKLN: Christopher Michaels
Edit: Cut + Run NY
Editor: Robert Ryang
Post Production: The Mill
Sound: Hobo Audio Company

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of the Clio Awards.