Image Credit: flickr
Learning about personal finance isn’t the most fun part of growing up, or growing older. Thinking about where to bank isn’t all that exciting either—unless you’re depositing a large sum of money or beating the system with loads of credit cards points. However, there’s one occasion when banking might be a little more thrilling than usual.
While playing Monopoly.
The board game that people don’t ever seem to get bored of is the star of a new campaign from Ally Financial. To make both financial literacy and banking into a game, the Detroit-based digital bank collaborated with Hasbro to merge the game into an augmented reality scavenger hunt.
According to Ally Chief Marketing Officer Andrea Brimmer, the campaign is part of an ongoing push by the company to create gamified experiences that allow the brand to stand out in a crowded field of both legacy and startup financial services providers.
“For the past couple of years, we’ve had this objective of trying to find ways to teach financial literacy in a way that’s not boring,” Brimmer tells Forbes. “And in a way that will engage people and have a component that is fun and communal and an interesting, disruptive way to be disruptive with our brand.”
The game, which began on Monday and runs through through October 28, uses a Web-based AR platform to turn the streets of six U.S. cities—New York, Chicago, Detroit, Charlotte, Dallas and Seattle—into parts of the Monopoly board. In each city, branded squares are labeled on streets that players can access with a URL to then scan with their smartphone to find AR-enabled experiences. Each spot uncovers prizes while also teaching about personal finance. Along the way, Chance square provides various prizes, and the Community Chest square helps with donations to the nonprofit Junior Achievement. (The city with the most check-ins gets an extra $50,000 donation to their local chapter while the others get $15,000.) Of course, there’s also a Go square which gives anyone who passes it the chance to win $200. Each city also has a larger-than-life game piece including the Scottie dog, top hat and car.
Gamification seems to be a way to get people interested in learning about money. According to a recent survey of 2,000 U.S. adults conducted by the Harris Poll on behalf of Ally, 34% of respondents said money-related board games were how they first learned about money. An overwhelming 94% said they’ve played a money-related board game at some point in their life, while 71% said the games helped them better understand money concepts even as a child.
This isn’t the first time Ally has tried to gamify personal finance as a part of its marketing efforts. Last year the company used AR as a part of a Super Bowl campaign that only activated during commercial breaks. In 2016, it created the Lucky Penny scavenger hunt that had people looking for pennies in 10 U.S. cities that were each worth $1,000 in prize money.
The AR Monopoly game, which took five months to develop, was created by Ally’s agencies Anomaly and MediaCom along with the Brooklyn-based production house m ss ng p eces. And it seems to be catching on: At least 246,000 people played from Monday through Friday, according to Ally.
Putting a massive AR game into an outdoor environment isn’t as easy as it might seem while playing Niantic’s Pokemon Go. It’s especially hard to do if you’re trying to engage passersby on a sidewalk. To remove the friction, m ss ng p eces worked with 8th Wall to make the experience browser-based so that people don’t have to use a separate app. In each city, pieces are unlocked by scanning QR codes which then pull up URLs to show the AR experience within a mobile browser.
Mike Woods, director of immersive content and executive creative director at m ss ng p eces, says the team tried to make it was easy as possible while still making sure the squares all “color, simple, bold and track really well.”
“We were just hopeful that people would see it on the floor on their daily commute and their interest was piqued enough to stop for a second,” he tells Forbes.
Over the years, Hasbro has partnered with a variety of companies for cross-promotional campaigns with Monopoly. It’s created boards for movies like Star Wars and Deadpool, games like Fortnite, and even for the hit show Game of Thrones. And then there’s old school example of McDonald’s, which put game pieces on drink cups and French fries containers. However, until now, Ally said Hasbro had surprisingly never worked with a bank.
“At the onset of the call,” Brimmer says. “They said ‘We’ve been waiting for a bank to call us,’ and ‘We can’t believe nobody had thought of a bank to talk about banking.’”