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How old will you be when you’re mortgage free?

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Home loans are the lifeblood of retail banks.

And in New Zealand's super-heated property market, competition was fierce. In the last two-years the median house price in Auckland had grown a whopping 35%.

MediaCom was tasked with helping Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) make the most of this opportunity:
- Increase HL drawdowns (ie. actual lending) by 10%
- 15% uplift in non-customer consideration.

The problem? BNZ couldn't keep up.

Kiwi banks had responded to the market with retail tactics: loss-leading rate-offers and extensive signing incentives to get customers on board. In 2015 BNZ was outspent by four- to-one and its market share showed a slow decline.

So, the agency looked to BNZ’s “Be Good with Money” brand-mission to help re-frame its opportunity.

Research showed that while NZ banks were trying to get Kiwis into a home loan, no-one was looking after those that already had one. When it came time to resign existing mortgage-terms only 20% felt their current solution was structured to meet their long-term needs.

It called these existing home loan customers “switchers”. While the market clamoured to get Kiwis into home loans at any cost, BNZ would focus on getting switchers out of theirs. However, while switchers were worried about their mortgage setup, few did anything about it. In most years only about 8% of the total mortgage market actually switches to a new lender. It had to find a way to change this behaviour.

The insight: To unlock this growth opportunity it needed to overcome switcher’s inertia.


Behavioural theory (BJ Fogg) showed that if MediaCom could get consumers to visualise their own sense of loss in a meaningful way they would be far more likely to commit to change.

Now it needed to find that connection and NZ’s HL data showed that 73% of HL customers would be over 60-years-old (and 41% over 70) when they finally paid off their mortgage.

You could argue that this is reasonable in the pursuit of your dream property, but let’s consider some numbers: If you had a $600,000 mortgage at 5%p.a. over 30 years (NZ averages) you’d pay nearly $560,000 of interest on top of the initial borrowing. However, if you increased your repayments by $30 (perhaps a decent bottle of wine) a week you would cut four years off your borrowing and over $66,000 in interest.

Switcher’s inertia was not only costing Kiwi’s money, it was costing them something even more valuable: time. Time they could be free from debt and the burden of a mortgage. This had the personal impact the agency was looking for.

The communication strategy: How old will you be?

The agency worked hard to highlight personal stories: How many years they were wedded to their HL and how much time they could save.

The communication strategy then addressed this through two phases that informed the way BNZ engaged across paid, owned and earned:

1. Breaking switcher’s inertia: Shock Kiwi switchers from their “she’ll be alright” mindset. This needed to engage a passive audience so MediaCom looked to high-impact creative and broadcast media placements that couldn’t be avoided.

2. Show & switch: Inspire behaviour change and convert this to a conversation with BNZ. This needed to be experience driven so it looked to rich-engagement and one-on-one channels.


The execution began with a simple question: “How old will you be when you’re mortgage free?”

MediaCom created an intuitive, easy-to-use digital experience to help switchers answer:
• How old they would be
• How much time and money they could save with BNZ

This personalised digital data point was the heart of the campaign.

It then built an integrated lead nurture programme around it to help consumers connect and act on this information.

1. Breaking switcher’s inertia: Television, digital outdoor and radio creative showed confronting images of elderly Kiwis hard at work, asking viewers how old they would be when they’d be mortgage free and directing them to the digital hub. The agency worked with a local radio network; surprising DJ’s with pictures showing what they’d look like by the time their loan was paid off. The hosts shock & outrage made for great content and sparked further conversation.

2. Show & switch: As switchers arrived on the digital hub it used each interaction to optimise overall conversion. Retargeting work here included: 
• Completed HL calculations were retargeted with dynamic creative showing how much they could save with a strong CTA.
• Those who completed a calculation were added to an on-going content eDM programme and contacted personally (if contact details supplied).

Each of these groups’ data signals, which included browsing behaviour, content preferences, time of day and location, were used to create lookalike targeting groups, improving media investment efficiency as the system learned where to find the best prospects.


The good news? Kiwi switchers were shocked. It delivered record application volumes and a highly profitable campaign. Looking at specific objectives:

1. Increase HL drawdowns (ie. actual lending) by 10%
• The microsite was used by 117,000 Kiwis. This represented 48% of the total switchers in market in New Zealand
• This lead to a 30% increase in home loan switching enquiries during the campaign period, the highest spike BNZ has recorded
• Best of all, this led to an overall increase in lending of 22.1% during campaign period smashing the objective.

2. Achieve a 15% uplift in non-customer consideration: Working with Colmar Brunton New Zealand (Kantar) the agency benchmarked and measured campaign awareness metrics. This showed record results for BNZ with a 20% increase.

The switchers also helped deliver a profitable marketing success.

Looking at incremental borrowing, the campaign delivered a payback of $10,562,622 and a ROMI of $6.10 for every dollar spent.

The exceptionally strong results proved that committing to your purpose, even if it goes against everyone else in the market, can go a long way to deliver success.

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Bank of New Zealand (BNZ)
New Zealand
October 2015 - November 2016
Media Channel:
  • FMAs winner
  • FMAs shortlisted

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