Dominated by the Big Five banks and supplemented with an additional 17 issuers, the Canadian rewards card market is cluttered, to say the least. Consumers are inundated with a bewildering array of options and discouraged by “hidden surprises” at redemption.
For the national launch of its No Hassle Rewards Card, Toronto-based Capital One had to win over the cynical, distrusting consumer. Instead of trying to seduce with idyllic portrayals of the benefits of point accumulation, DDB developed a campaign to face consumer skepticism head on. The campaign had to confront the main point of contention, namely hassles at the time of redemption, in a very visceral and confident manner.
The creative played off the idea that it would be a cold day in hell before anyone offered a rewards card like this one, enlisting the unlikeliest of corporate pitchmen: the Prince of Darkness himself. The campaign began with three humourous 30-second TV commercials. In “Hell Freezes,” the devil wakes up in bed, shivering and surrounded by snow. He soon learns the cause of this serious temperature shift – the Capital One rewards card, with no surprises at redemption. Holding a sharp metal object, he deadpans, “There goes poker night.”
The TV was supported by transit posters and billboards with images of the devil in scarf and mittens, shovelling snow and pushing a snowblower. A series of banners drove directly to the No Hassle Rewards website, with its new, ‘frozen’ look. A direct response component, in the form of hell’s own newspaper, The Daily Burn, ran articles explaining Capital One’s role in the meteorological miracle. The weekly weather forecast? Freezing.
Thanks to the campaign, Capital One saw awareness for the No Hassles Rewards card rise from 23% to 45%, more than double the objective. Consideration for the card among those who were aware also surpassed the targeted 5% increase, rising from 28% pre-campaign to 36% post.