This Financial Brand Translates Your Spending Into Songs

Tuneful transactions from Interac and Zulu Alpha Kilo

Canadian debit network Interac translates the highs and lows of personal finance into bouncy songs through a website developed with agency Zulu Alpha Kilo.

The project, "Sound of Spending," invites users to input dollar amounts representing their outlays for food, entertainment, consumer goods and household bills over the past 12 months. An algorithm matches the data to notes generated by electronic synthesizers, harps and marimbas, creating short, sharable tunes.

Higher spending boosts the tempo and pitch, yielding fast, bouncy tracks. Frugality slows the beats per minute and lowers the tone, producing mellower grooves.

Watch this clip to learn the score:

Interac | Sound Of Spending

"When we looked at Interac spending graphs, we noticed it looked quite similar to a sound wave," ZAK executive creative director Wain Choi tells Muse. "So we thought, let's turn one into the other to make finances more accessible and fun. Thinking about spending within your means isn't the most exciting proposition. Music will help draw people in and humanize the brand."

Ultimately, it's all about "helping Canadians better understand, and in turn stay in control of, their money," says Interac digital and integrated marketing director Matt Houghton. "Leveraging data and technology to create an emotive output like music allows us to connect with our tech-savvy audience in a unique way."

Here's a "Sound of Spending" ditty based on broad national trends in Canada since the pandemic began. If you're in the mood for a techno toe-tapper derived from dips and splurges related to home improvements, summer road trips and year-end gifting, crank it up!

"To generate the song, we used millions of Interac debit transactions, tracked across different merchant categories for a year and a half," Choi explains. "It shows an incline in spending during the grocery shopping frenzy before the lockdown—then a sharp drop-off as everyone stayed home. Following that, there's a slow and steady rise. Overall, we can see and hear an economy that's steadily recovering back to its pre-pandemic levels."

Sounds pretty sweet. Now, if only some clever brand could harness tech to compose tunes based on vacation holiday photos, or convert popular songs into recipes.


Client: Interac
Agency: Zulu Alpha Kilo
Chief Creative Officer: Zak Mroueh
Executive Creative Director: Wain Choi
Art Director: Michael Romaniuk
Writer: Marco Buchar
Designer: Damian Simev, Brian Banton, Zoe Kim
Creative Technology: Jake Edwards
Account Team: Alyssa Guttman, Kara Oddi, Risa Kastelic
Planning Team: Sean Bell, Spencer MacEachern
Clients: Andrea Danovitch, Matt Houghton, Meghan Jeffery, Rachel Kellogg, Chingtien Chang
Media Agency: Media Experts
Media Team: Rachel Schmidt, Latoya Taylor, MacKenzie McNevin, Keaton Dale
PR Agency: Hill+Knowlton Strategies
PR Team: Samantha Kay, Geetika Kher
French Agency: The French Shop
French Account Team: Roxane Caron, Marie-Ève Fraser and Anne Ouellet
French Creatives: Patricia Doiron, Joëlle Fournier and Gwenaëlle Clément-Gagnon
Producer: Ece Inan, Greg Hennessy, Adam Palmer, Lauren Schell
Animation and editing: Ashlee Mitchell
Production House: Zulubot
Director: Barbara Shearer
Post Production Company: Zulubot
Editor: Mallory Robbins
Audio Mixer: Noah Mroueh
Music House: Oso Audio
Audio Engineer: Daenen Bramberger
Interactive Artist: Andrew Martin

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