No more ***king at credit unions
On June 30, 2017, credit unions across Canada were ordered by the federal regulator to stop using the terms 'bank' and 'banking' to describe what they do—even though Canadians have always used these words to describe banking at a credit union or any other financial institution.
We thought the decision to ban such common language was ridiculous, and that the public needed to know. So we launched a fun contest to re-name the now-censored term.
We felt that if we could get people across Canada talking about the issue and saying ‘This doesn’t make sense’ then maybe we could create enough noise to compel the decision-makers to change their minds. The credit union industry agreed and launched their own campaign on social media using the hashtag #Ibankwithacreditunion. We wanted to go a different way and give people a reason to talk more about this ridiculous regulation change.
Our biggest challenge was coming up with a way to engage the public on a matter as dry as federal banking regulations. Fortunately, we had some very creative writers, social media marketers, web developers, and graphic designers who knew just what to do.
To help raise public awareness we launched unbanking.ca, an interactive microsite where Canadians could suggest new words to replace the term ‘banking’ and vote for their favourite submissions. We promoted the campaign with nation-wide press releases and a social media blitz, using cheeky digital posters and memes that bleeped out the word ‘bank’ in everyday scenarios.
As part of the campaign, our CEO wrote a blog post about the 'bank' ban that was published on LinkedIn Pulse and was shared extensively throughout the financial world. The post caught the eye of writers at The Financial Brand—the #1 site in the world for senior-level executives in the banking industry—where they quoted him in an article on their website.
- 4,591 ***king page views
- 217 ***king submissions
- 882 ***king votes cast
- 20+ new words were submitted per minute at the peak of the campaign.
Designing a ***king campaign
One of our biggest challenges with a subject like "regulations" was how to make people pay attention and engage in a conversation. Once we realized that you couldn't take 'bank' out of 'banking' without replacing it with something else, the idea of asking Canadians to choose a new term for ***king became the obvious (and hilarious) choice. Plus, we could show off just how ridiculous it would be to remove a word like ***king out of everyday conversation.
From engagement to action in less than a week
Sometimes, a campaign doesn't need to run forever or reach a massive audience to make an impact.
We launched unbanking.ca on July 18, 2017. With just three days of promotion the website received 4,591 page views, 217 words were submitted and reshared on social media, and 882 votes were cast. At one time during the campaign, the team was moderating 20 new words being submitted per minute! By July 21, word came from our client that the federal government had "heard" our message and "could we stop blowing up social media." In respect for the many voices engaging in conversation about the 'bank' ban, we withdrew our promotion of the campaign happy that the public had a chance to engage in the subject and be heard.
Some of our favourite terms included:
On August 11, 2017, the federal banking regulator announced it was "suspending the compliance expectations" in order to conduct a review of the regulations and their impact on credit unions.
In February 2018, the Minister of Finance announced that the government would allow credit unions flexibility in using the terms 'bank' and 'banking'.
That's ***king right!