barclay’s saves you from yourself…

Just a few weeks ago, Barclay’s became the first big bank to give its customers unexpected control over their spending. Via Barclay’s app, you can now “switch off” your debit card so that it can’t be used for five specific types of purchases – gambling, “premium-rate websites and phone lines”, restaurants/pubs/bars, gas, and groceries. Once a type of purchase is switched off, any transaction you try with your card at the relevant type of retailer or business will be automatically declined. The idea is to try and help people manage their spending impulses, and is aimed particularly at those with mental health issues or addictions. But, it can also be used to protect yourself from others trying to make fraudulent charges, if you’re worried about that. Barclay’s says it will do the same for credit cards in the near future.

Why It’s Hot: 

It’s a bold move for a bank to offer its customers a way to not spend their own money, but it’s clearly aimed at helping people. Unexpected, and a great example of putting people over profits and thinking about the customer experience beyond just transacting with the bank itself. It’s only a halfway house, given that the feature is completely within each person’s control. But even the cue of having your card declined and having to go into the app to turn whatever type of purchase back on would likely make someone who can’t help themselves think twice.


The Power of Storytelling without Words

HSBC Travels 40 Years in One Remarkable Elevator Ride

The spot from Grey-London portrays one man’s 40-year ride to the top – not without bumps- encapsulated completely within one elevator ride.  The genius of it is that, without dialogue or caption, it conveys a story brilliantly in which we are allowed to fill in (or assume) the details.

The tie-in to the brand (HSBC) can also be perceived many ways, but it can be assumed that the journey of this brand, born in 1974, is personified by the one man’s trip ‘up’. It also shows the business from one man’s life from both sides – with personal and professional triumphs. At one point he is seen in conflict, another in defeat and others are life-milestones celebrated. Its a brave and well-crafted emotional roller coaster that keeps us involved and thirsty to know how it ends.


Why its Hot:

It’s a novel, effective style of storytelling that lets the audience fill in the blanks and promotes repeat viewings. (As Mad Men proved, you can get more drama out of elevator scenes than you might think.)  I can see such clever storytelling leveraged for a brand such as ETS, to portray, without verbose narration, how one young person who grasps opportunity, can have a very positive life change as we continue conversations around scaling up our use of more visual channels that utilize video. Leaving out words can create a more universal message and allow for acceptance across many cultures and markets as well. Well done!