Berlin-based neobank N26 has been targeting the US market since the beginning of September 2019. Ads appeared on the New York subway cars about N26’s mobile banking product. It is also using taxis and buses o build brand recognition among U.S. consumers. The ads will also roll out in Chicago and San Francisco from mid-September.
The ads focus on the aspects of banking, which N26 discovered through user research, that are top of mind for its target consumers: speed of signup, no-fee transparency, security, peace-of-mind through activity notifications and early payday deposits.
The ad’s taglaine, “mobile banking the world loves,” is based on replicating the brand’s success in Europe and playing on many consumers’ dissatisfaction with their banking institutions, said Marie Le, U.S. head of marketing at N26. She said, “A lot of the things that you see [in the ads] have been informed by user research at the very beginning.” She added, “Love is a core part of that campaign. We wanted to leverage our successes in Europe, [and] there’s an opportunity for us to build an ongoing relationship with our customers.”
A number of neobanks have used traditional advertising including TransferWise, SoFi and BBVA-owned digital banking brand Simple, and all of them have run advertising campaigns on the New York subway. For tech startups, subways are seen as a cost-effective way to reach a broad swath of the population that’s essentially captive. “It’s become a rite of passage for startups and tech companies in New York,” Jennifer Fitzgerald, chief executive officer of Policygenius, told Bloomberg. “You’ve made it when you’ve got your subway ads.”
When asked about its choice of US cities for the ad campaign, Le stressed that N26’s focus is US-wide, but the ad campaign is targeting areas where the brand will likely have more resonance, such as urban populations that are likely to be receptive to a banking product from a tech company. “It’s really important for us to be on the East Coast, [the Midwest] and the West Coast. We also wanted to consider where there is a demographic with a high usage of technology.”