Earlier this year, creative agency Engine launched a new campaign for MoneySuperMarket signalling a fresh direction for the brand.
The work was unveiled alongside a new logo and visual identity and encouraged consumers to ‘get money calm’ with a suite of more proactive and personalised services.
Since the reveal, a second spot launched this summer and below, senior creative team Tom Evans and Olly Courtney offer insight on their concept and how it came to life on screen.
What was the brief?
MoneySuperMarket is going through a period of change; a reinvention of its business. It’s moving from being a ‘search’ to ‘serve’ company.
Tell us about the inception of the idea…
Everyone experiences financial anxiety whether you’re doing something quite boring like renewing your car insurance or something life changing like getting a mortgage; there’s always that annoyance about having to dig out bank statements or proving your old addresses.
Whether you’re well off or struggling with money, the same kind of feelings associate with it. So that’s what we’ve boiled dealing with money down to, that ‘Aaaargh’ feeling. But with MoneySuperMarket as the solution.
How did you arrive at the idea for the ad?
That was something Tom and I stumbled on early in the pitch process. We were lucky and everyone in the team got it and thought it was the one to go for. So, we put all our energy into it during the pitch to make it the best it could possibly be.
We even thought about the music when you’re put on hold that it needs to be the most relaxing music you’ll ever hear. And the voiceover for the ad needed to be a calming voiceover. But it also still needed to be funny because the brand comes from a heritage of making funny standout ads which is why we arrived where we did with Matt Berry [as the voiceover artist].
How did the idea evolve from the pitch stage to delivery?
The amazing thing is the ad that launched the campaign is pretty much the same idea we came out with during the pitch. It’s been great to have a client that bought the pitch and then didn’t say how can we change it all, they wanted to hone it and make it better. Everything is hinged around getting you from an anxious to a relaxed state and MoneySuperMarket always being at the point where it’ll always take you from ‘aaargh’ to ‘aaahhh’.
Tell us a bit more about the rebrand…
It affects everything from how the logo looks with the shapes and colour scheme, even though they said we could go any colour we liked we lent into their existing purple. They said there was no equity in their current logo so to just go with it and if we felt like we needed to change everything, we could. We went for a gradient of colour, relaxed palette and relaxing font even down to the kerning. It’s all meant to chill you out. The customer journey on the website too, it should all be a relaxing experience. It started from that then everything from press, outdoor and radio should keep that in mind and be running through its DNA.
How did you arrive at a house in the sky?
We initially didn’t have the house, it wasn’t at the beginning of the ad, our very early idea was just to have an ad that pictured nothing but calm. So, you’re just flying through the clouds, nothing happened. You’d have this very dreamy voice telling you to relax and we soon realised it would be more arresting and memorable if we took people ion that journey from ‘aaargh’ to ‘aaahhh’.
We always thought clouds were a good place to play so needed to find a way of getting there. We toyed with being a skydiver but then that’s associated with enjoying those kinds of things.
Everyone’s familiar with sitting at the kitchen table and can put themselves in that situation and it’s also shot in POV. Then the brief was to be torn from that comfort as if someone’s just pulled a rip cord and you’re tumbling and don’t know where you are. Then finally you find a way to fly and soar above it all, breathe in and out and do all the wonderful relaxing things that come with MoneySuperMarket sorting your finances out or helping you to take more control.
What was the biggest challenge during the creative process and how did you overcome it?
The sheer physicality of building a set that tips itself up 45 degrees, empties its contents and the actor and camera operator out.
How tall was the crane holding the house in the air?
We needed a bigger one. We had a rehearsal day and had to lift this set up from flat to 45 degrees and they couldn’t do it quick enough on the test day so had to get a bigger crane in. They shipped out the 25m crane in favour of a 50m. But it was a constant logistical challenge. We were supposed to shoot indoors in a big studio in Bangkok and the rig was so big they had to move it out into the car park, so we spent three days out in the baking sun.
The room had to be dressed, it was flipped, and everything emptied and then a team came and redressed it all down to the last item on the table. They then trashed it and reset again and did that three or four times in a day.
There was also stunt people who had to have cameras rigged to them and everything had to happen seamlessly to get all those things, there were so many moving parts. We soaped the floor, so things slid out quicker. But sometimes they’d tilt the room up and nothing would come out. From a movie making point of view it was an incredible feat of logistics and organisation. It was quite a joy to watch that level of production expertise as a creative who’s written an ad.
And what about the production and how the various teams involved worked together?
Framestore brought three people out to the set, we had our creative director, lead 3D compositor and a 3D supervisor to make sure all the layers were seamed together. They shot an amazing amount of stuff themselves. They’d come in after a take and put a camera in with a 360 rig, so they were able to get plates of everything. They had references for everything like skin and fur to get all the lighting references. They shot every single object in 3D.
What about the music/sound, artwork or effects – how did you decide on them and why do they work?
What we tried to do was create a soundscape which is calming and helps us along. The client requested new kit in terms of branding etc. but also audibly. So, a bit like the Intel noise at the end of its ads. Then we’ve got Matt Berry as our voiceover.
We went through a whole creative process with him. The great thing he does is read something as mundane as the phonebook and make it sound funny. As much as we like to go crazy with the comedy there was a certain amount of dry financial information that we would have to communicate at some stage. So, it really helped having someone who could elevate seemingly dry facts and make them sound funny.
Why do you think the idea works for the brand and the reason it went for it?
it was one of those ones where we gave them something that would be hard not to go for. We came across the idea early and believed in it. Some ideas you just know are good and then some you think about a bit more for doing certain things. The more we tested it the more it worked everywhere which was amazing.
They’ve started thinking about how they can use it internally as well. They’ve started describing teething problems or system issues internally as ‘aaargh’ moments and thinking about how they turn ‘aaarghs’ to ‘aaahhhs’. It’s a general way of saying how do we make things better? They’ve really bought into the idea and language.