Interac ditches its Bill in new holiday campaign

'Debt is a real nutcracker' according to creative from Zulu Alpha Kilo

Interac is playfully reminding Canadians of the perils of credit card debt, and encouraging them to use their own money this holiday season.

The national effort, titled “Have a Merry January,” was developed by the brand’s creative AOR Zulu Alpha Kilo and includes TV, OOH, print, digital and social.

Scheduled to launch Nov. 6, the campaign is anchored by a one-minute TV and online spot featuring a woman doing holiday shopping at a toy store. As she reaches for her credit card, all of the toys come to life and sing “debt, debt, debt” to the tune of Tchaikovsky’s “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.” Convinced, the woman pays with Interac instead.

Two additional online-only spots feature a family that cleverly puts a debt-focused spin on classic carols like “Deck the Halls” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” while OOH ads carry messages like, “Debt is a real nutcracker” and “You’re a foul one, Mr. Debt.”

Though Have a Merry January, is in line with the brand’s “Be in the Black” platform, it’s a departure from past holiday campaigns, which for two consecutive years included creative featuring “Holiday Bill,” a life-sized credit card statement that badgers consumers through winter.

The brand was looking for a slightly different platform this year, and while the message of avoiding debt remains the same, this year the emphasis is more on spending one’s own money, said Rob Feightner, client services director at Zulu Alpha Kilo,

“Black Friday becomes the weekend where a lot of retailers probably make their years, so Canadians are being influenced and pressured to spend more and to spend sooner,” he said. “What we want to suggest is that there are traps along the way, and by using your own money and your Interac Debit card you can avoid some of those pitfalls. Because really, you’re just using the money that you’ve earned and worked hard for.”

And, Interac’s message seems to be resonating with consumers. “When we’re in market with our messages, whether it’s spending wisely, using your own money or calling out the pitfalls of credit card debt, we know that Canadians react to it,” Feightner added. “We see a direct correlation between the work in market and the choices that Canadians are making.”

Have a Merry January will run until Boxing Week. Media Experts handled the buy and Tank handled French adaptation for the Quebec market.

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