Talk To Chuck, Schwabby

Schwab header

We’re in process of launching a great new financial advisement firm here in northern Nevada – Sierra Nevada Wealth Management. The SNWM team is a truly business-savvy client, and we’ve been able to work with them toward fast deadlines in record time. More on that campaign later…

One of the many things we’ve learned while researching this specific market segment, is that in the financial services world, testimonials are strictly verboten. So it would appear that creating animation over a live-action testimonial is considered changing the imagery enough to not qualify as a testimonial, per se. Interesting strategic move by this huge financial firm. With the saturation of this campaign having reached a fevered pitch in the past 6 months, I’d be more than interested to know what the direct response from the public has been to these spots.

This animated style is the work of Bob Sabiston, an MIT Media Lab veteran who brought the same “interpolated rotoscoping” technique to the Richard Linklater film Waking Life.

Sabiston’s software enables the animator/effects artist to trace over live-action footage much with much greater ease and speed. Here’s an explanation of the process tracked to Wired.

I’m not certain that the basic appeal of animation suits the target market’s interest – but one thing that I am certain is that the animation creates an enhanced need to listen. As the subtle cues we receive from live action are layered and somewhat distorted, the audience is forced to pay attention to the core message itself.

This is a good strategy, given that a common complaint among brokerage clients is the fact they rarely, if ever, hear from their brokerage unless there’s a transaction at hand. And even then, it’s rarely in a pro-active way.

The subjects in the spots are nearly all male – all of whom are angry with their current broker’s empty, bland advice. “It would be nice if the quarterly report had some kind of analysis,” says one annoyed character. These frustrated voices are precisely the target market for Schwab – and the target of every other brokerage in the industry. Most clients stay with a brokerage for decades – even through trying times like these. But there are a select group of investors that are more prone to switch brokers out of dissatisfaction and disgust.

While most folks stick with a broker for decade after decade (because switching is a pain in the neck and seldom seems worth the effort), these spiteful dudes are prone to switch brokers out of restlessness, or rage. Schwab refers to this movable market segment at “money in motion.”

So… Talk To Chuck. And tell us (or him) what you really think about their campaign.

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