Fun With TV Commercials

Over the past couple of years heading up Wonga in Canada, I've had the opportunity to work on 3 TV commercials with the amazing team at SID LEE. 

In over 15 years as a startup tech entrepreneur, I've never really considered TV as part of our customer acquisition toolkit, so it's been very interesting to explore the power of this medium, especially as it pertains to rapidly establishing a new brand in a competitive space. 

When building the ads for Canada, we tried to find a balance between amusing/engaging and educating the audience. In this case, we were introducing a fundamentally different short term loan (faster and on-line, simpler and more transparent, materially less expensive and far more flexible) than those already on the market. We wanted to deliver a serious message in an amusing and engaging manner.

Although we were able to leverage some stock footage from the UK, we had to remake the commercials for a very different market stage, a different product offering and a subtly different sense of humour. They were completely re-scripted.

In the first spot "The New Intern" , we introduced the three Wongies (Betty, Earl and Joyce), establishing a humorous tone for the company, and beginning to flesh out the characters ... in this case, Betty's fascination ("he's hotter than a teapot") with Earl (the new intern).

In the second spot, we introduced Joyce, the (seemingly) more serious of the bunch, who revealed the potential of a more vibrant side ("this beat makes me want to crumpet"). We'll hopefully have some fun with Joyce over time.

In the most recent commercial "Saucy Devil", which started airing this week, we continued the Betty and Earl storyline, with Earl finally revealing his feelings for Betty. We were left with Betty's somewhat ambiguous response.

In each ad, we tried to end with a memorable line, one that hopefully would drive some social media pickup. For weeks after each release, we were encouraged to see "he's hotter than a teapot" and "this beat make me want to crumpet" playfully picked up in Tweets and Posts on-line. We're hoping "saucy devil" will have the same take-up.

Of course ... there is a message embedded in each of these ads ... the storyline is just there to provide an engaging experience.

What's next? A torrid affair? Stay tuned ...