Western Union Delivers Via 'Rio 2' Partnership

You’d expect maybe a cereal, beverage or candy brand to be a perfect partner for the release of an animated film like “Rio 2.” But Western Union?

Seeing a connection between the movie’s family theme and the payment service provider’s target consumer and core money transfer service, Western Union teamed with Twentieth Century Fox for the April release of Blue Sky Studios’ “Rio 2.”

The movie’s two main characters are birds that have children, elder relatives and multicultural experiences in the U.S. and Brazil. These attributes sync with Western Union customers, who value family and send their relatives money for gifts and support.

Minneapolis-based Marketing Lab kicked things off by introducing Western Union to Twentieth Century Fox last winter, and the brand teams took it from there. The result was a bilingual, omnichannel campaign timed to leverage Mother’s Day.

The Western Union shopper demographic is heavily Hispanic and over-indexes in family movie viewing, according to Laston Charriez, senior vice president of marketing for the Americas. “It all starts with the consumer,” says Charriez, a longtime marketer at Procter & Gamble before joining Western Union. “Same philosophies [as at P&G]. You need to know the consumer better than anyone else; create strategies that are relevant to them and bring it to life in ways that break through the clutter and make a great return on engagement.”

The campaign began in late March and ended May 18. Charriez says that each of the approximately 50,000 locations with Western Union services – retailers, independent agents such as check-cashing vendors, banks – received a box of themed in-store materials touting money transfers to display at their discretion. The materials comprised computer terminal wraparounds, posters and toner cards that could be customized by major retailers such as Kroger and Rite Aid.

Western Union used banner ads on its home page, and a dedicated promotional website housed a sweepstakes and instant-win game. The prizes varied depending on whether the player found the game on social media or through a Western Union mailing or transaction.

Social media activity supported the campaign, and the company also created a mobile microsite and game (the “Rio 2” Challenge) accessible through mobile display ads. The game featured three levels – Agent Locations, Bill Pay and Money Transfer – that had to be played to receive a 50% discount code.

Western Union also had print and email activations. Twentieth Century Fox helped produce TV spots. Marketing Lab helped keep the visual aspects of the campaign consistent through email and digital. Bromley, San Antonio, handled bilingual messaging. Google powered the mobile game.

Charriez says success will be measured by transaction lift, brand equity measurements and digital engagement. “Did they engage with the brand, did they play our games, did they go to our website, did they watch the movie?” he says.

The campaign is not necessarily indicative of a shift in marketing for Western Union as much as it was a great fit in theme and audience. “We have a wonderful consumer and we are close to him or her so much that we understand their desires and we’re trying to be there with them and evolve as quickly as they are,” he says. “And it just happened that this time a movie had a great theme to bring it to life and jibe with our Mother’s Day campaign and domestic money transfer message.

“We’re not married to movies, we’re married to our consumers. Once we know him or her better than anyone else, we’ll go to their platforms as long as we can deliver value for them.”

Says Marketing Lab owner Rich Butwinick: “The key takeaway is that if you’re looking for ways to really engage consumers, look for opportunities like this. As long as they’re strategically aligned and they make sense for the business, these are things to absolutely pursue. I give Western Union a lot of credit for identifying that this was a good opportunity and jumping full in.

“You don’t have to be a CPG brand to follow that philosophy. You can be a leader in another space and just apply shopper marketing and this type of thinking in entertainment properties to drive the business and be relevant to consumers.”

Related Images