financial services

Citi Enlists Dan Levy, Rashida Jones For Digital-First Effort

Citi is promoting its new Custom Cash card with the help of comedians Dan Levy and Rashida Jones.  

In a twist on cashback cards, the Citi product actively adapts to individual spending behaviors and automatically offers 5% in returns on the eligible category that cardmembers’ spend the most on each month on up to $500 in purchases and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

To amplify the campaign and bring this ethos of simplicity and flexibility to life, Citi is launching a digital-first national marketing campaign deploying strategies ranging from celebrity partnerships to mobile engagements on social channels such as Snapchat and YouTube. 

The campaign, created by Publicis, is not using print media or OOH other than Citi Bikes, Citi Field and in branches, says Mary Hines, CMO, U.S. Consumer Bank, Citi.



“While digital was important before the pandemic, it is truly at the forefront of everything we do today,” Hines tells Marketing Daily. “And it was certainly top of mind for the design of the Citi Custom Cash Card as well as our marketing campaign design and rollout.”

Leveraging Levy’s clear comedic voice and style, he and Citi worked in close collaboration to create the series of fun spots that showcase the friendship between him and Jones. Five videos show examples of scenarios where customers can be rewarded. The debut 30-second spot features the comedic duo at a fitness class, gas station and restaurant. 

“Celebrities are an immensely powerful way to break through with consumers because they bring the brand voice to life in a new, compelling and relatable way,” Hines says

The effort also includes digital audio ads running on iHeart Radio and Pandora. Comprehensive takeovers are planned for platforms such as Flipboard and Twitch. 

“We took a step back and asked ourselves how we could show up differently from Citi campaigns you’ve seen before,” Hines says. “That’s why we are exploring new engagement channels -- such as Twitch -- and engaging celebrities in an exciting, new way. This is such a different card, and in tandem, a wholly different look for us.”

Recent Citi research shows that 82% of millennials' spending varies month-to-month based on their shifting interests and priorities, and 87% expressed a desire for a credit card that does the work for them to maximize their rewards based on their changing spending patterns.

More than one-third (36%) said their spending has changed over the last year and their current credit cards don’t reward their new spending patterns. And, going forward, this group is eager to resume their favorite activities and get rewarded for doing so, reporting that they’re most looking forward to traveling (66%), going to a restaurant (45%), going to a concert (31%), going to a party (25%), and going to an in-person workout or fitness class (17%). 

For many consumers, earning cash back is the fuel that makes these activities possible, so much so that more than two-thirds of millennials (69%) say that getting cash back is absolutely essential or very important to them when applying for a new credit card.

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