In Romania, non-banking financial institutions are often regarded as legally operating loan sharks. It’s a hard-to-crack problem since it originates in the perception of the business model itself: offering small loans on short terms.
Provident, as the market leader, was always the first in line to be affected by this prejudice.
However studies conducted by Provident proved that clients evaluate many aspects before taking a loan (93%) and take just the amounts they can afford to return, without putting additional pressure on their budget (91%). The main criteria when taking a loan are: the capacity to pay back the monthly rates (66%), the total amount (42%) and the loan period (41%).
The conclusion is that Romanians take home service loans responsibly, but the lack in information has generated negative myths regarding the services and products offered, especially amongst non-clients, who often become their most vocal detractors.
Under these circumstances our task seemed nearly impossible. How do you explain that lending money over short periods of time and, on top of everything, having a home-delivery service, has nothing to do with the loansharking cliché? How do you prove to people who on principle refuse a direct interaction with you, that in fact you are transparent, fair and civilised? How do you succeed when all previous attempts at rationally explaining it have failed? And the TV-driven communication has to stay functional since its main objective is to generate leads, while the most acerb critique manifests itself online?
General Information:
Strategy: Well, you apply an old and wise principle, stating that “if you can’t beat them, join them”. In other words, if you cannot persuade them by denying allegations, ADMIT to them.
Therefore, we designed an unexpected and self-ironical online company apology, in which we offered a humorous, alternative explanation for the unfortunate confusion between Provident and actual loan sharks: the terrible mistake of hiring Mr. Lonnie Shark (English for “Camataru”, a common Romanian surname). The campaign follows the steps of the internal investigation started by Provident, in an attempt to clear the name of the whole industry.
By presenting the absurd result it exposes the absurdity of the allegations.
The demonstration is completed by rational arguments regarding Provident’s way of doing business, woven into the hilarious script and also featured on the campaign landing page.
The campaign was aimed at both existing and potential Provident clients, low to medium income, with Internet access and opinion leaders from social media (journalists and bloggers).
• Generate campaign awareness (expose the creative content to at least 500.000 unique online viewers, attract minimum 40,000 unique users to the Provident web page during the campaign period).
• Generate positive association and feedback for Provident via online, among both the commercial target and the opinion leaders.
Video Link: