Western Union is a leader in global payment services who consumers perceive as safe, reliable and fast, but its growing sea of competitors had affected its U.S. transactions. Despite its leadership position, it had to compete harder in a category where price can be a determinate of choice, but value ultimately determines the category champion.
Western Union, the global payment services leader was facing tough competition in a competitive and price sensitive sector. Studies revealed people were getting increasingly busy and had more choices than ever before. To keep Western Union top-of-mind, it was essential to reverse transaction decline. We had to create a new campaign for the 140-year-old brand that would break-through the commoditization of the money transfer category and leverage its perception of being safe, fast and reliable.
Our team took the brand’s ubiquity, its more than 50,000 retail locations across the US, the WU app and WU.com, and transformed these into unique selling points of ease, convenience and accessibility. Our message was anchored on the feeling Western Union customers get when using its services at retail, on mobile or online — Relaxation.
From that, we developed new ad messaging anchored on the feeling Western Union customers get when using its services at retail, on mobile or online - Relaxation.
Gravity created the visual cue of Western Union senders lying back in a big, bright yellow and comfy reclining chair to dramatize this simple message.
Iconic and slightly playful, the chair was introduced and appeared in all advertising channels and tactics, including an on-air integration of Western Union on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (ABC).
National cable TV and online advertising combined with local outdoor and local print in priority markets would be the most cost-efficient communication channel combination to drive retail and website traffic, and increase WU app downloads. For this, Gravity carefully identified TV networks and priority local markets that are densely populated by prospects in the money transfer category.
Then a unique opportunity came. We discovered that people who have sent money domestically in the past 12 months are 30% more likely than others to read comic books. In the wake of the May 2015 theatrical release of “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” Western Union and Gravity collaborated with MARVEL to create a custom digital comic book that was distributed to millions of MARVEL fans.
One of many relaxing hobbies, Western Union was strategically placed into the Avengers storyline and had an ad depicting the “Yellow Chair” messaging featured on the back cover. Additionally, a stop motion animation video episode from MARVEL featuring Western Union was created and shared to MARVEL fans.
The campaign has effectively stopped the decline in transaction growth and in fact, reversed it by generating an average 4.5% growth in transactions. Consumer research also showed that we had grown top-of-mind recall of WU in the areas wherein we advertise.