SoFi, a self described “modern finance company,” aired a catchy ad in the first quarter of the Super Bowl that not only caught my attention and made me “HUSH!” the room, but actually propelled me to their website.
Last Sunday was my favorite day of the year. True, it was the Super Bowl, and also true, I am a football fan. But that’s not the reason Super Bowl Sunday is my favorite day of the year. It means the granddaddy of all advertising showcases is upon us. Some of the finest specimens of television advertising (and some of the worst) are on display.
But I’m not here to talk about all of the Super Bowl ads from last Sunday. (Check out Eric’s blog from this week to revisit more of those!) I’m here to talk about one ad in particular.
SoFi, a self described “modern finance company,” aired a catchy ad in the first quarter of the football game that not only caught my attention and made me “HUSH!” the room, but actually propelled me to their website. (Okay, that may have had more to do with the fact that I work in financial marketing.)
For those that did not see the ad, it uses quick camera shots and catchy panning to move us from person to person down a busy city sidewalk and into a coffee shop. All the while, a voiceover tells us whether or not that person is “great” or “not great.” (My favorite is the guy who’s mom thinks he’s great, but “she’s wrong.”) At the end of the spot, you finally figure out that we’re talking about loans, and that SoFi delivers “great loans for great people”.
After visiting their website and delving further into their existence in the financial industry, I started questioning the wisdom of airing a 30-second spot during the Super Bowl while simultaneously completely missing your target market, what you’re trying to accomplish as a “modern finance company,” and having your message be miles away from what it should be.
So what is SoFi trying to do with their ad? Beats me.
What they are doing is alienating the younger Millennial (and Gen Z, for that matter) audience they are obviously going after by telling them they have to be “great” (whatever that means) to get a loan with SoFi. All while proclaiming to be a social-friendly and modern company that doesn’t look at the normal indicators of “greatness” when lending. Not that Millennials or Gen Z give a crap if they’re great or not. They aren’t looking for your approval.
A recent post on their blog (published before the ad aired on Super Bowl Sunday) reveals the true purpose behind the ad. The writer calls attention to how they think of their members as being great on a much deeper level beyond their FICO score and debit to income ratio.
The trouble with this train of thought, when making the move to air a 30-second TV spot during Super Bowl Sunday, is that within a handful of seconds, your target audience’s thoughts have already left the train station and moved onto better thoughts. I understand that this ad is one message that is part of a larger story. However, the story they are trying to tell doesn’t play well when delivered via this channel.
The content of your message is just as important as the delivery of it. Not to mention how much you’re betting on that message resonating with the audience. Did SoFi’s bet pay off last Sunday? I’m betting no. But I’ll let you be your own judge.
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