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It’s all lizard brain’s fault: Inside Yolt’s new brand campaign

Updated: Apr 14, 2021

The UK money-saving app Yolt has released a new campaign, ‘Unthink Money’. Led by Uncommon Creative Studio, the campaign introduces ‘the lizard brain’ – “an evolutionary throwback responsible for your most impulsive and financially dubious decisions.”

For an exclusive glimpse behind the scenes of Yolt’s new campaign and an insight into its response to Covid-19 and plans for the future, read the full interview below.

Yolt's Unthink Money Campaign Ad
Image source: Uncommon Creative Studio

Yolt’s mission is to give everyone the power to be smart with their money. Working with Uncommon, we wanted to explore the ways in which people can take control of our money, with a playful take on the science behind why we spend the way we do.

Launched by ING in 2017, Yolt has quickly become one of the fastest-growing fintechs in the UK and attracted more than 1.5m customers. A money management smart app, Yolt uses AI to understand your spending habits and allows you to stay on track with your expenses and saving goals. Last year, the company revamped its app and introduced a number of new product features, including a Yolt card for spending and a Money Jar for saving, as well as in-app access to partners like MoneySuperMarket, PensionBee and Wealthify.

After the successful rollout of Yolt’s new product offering, the company has now shifted its focus to strengthening its brand and increasing awareness about its unique value proposition by creating a unique brand platform. To help build the platform, Yolt has appointed the London-based challenger creative agency, Uncommon Creative Studio.

The result of Yolt’s collaboration with Uncommon is a new brand campaign called ‘Unthink Money’. The campaign launched last month and features a neon pink and green lizard mascot that represents the irrational lizard brain that urges people to make spontaneous and unnecessary purchases. The ‘little devil’ is accompanied by disturbing 3D illustrations of human anatomy that aim to depict the constant battle between being practical and the desire to spend more. The campaign also features a 60-second animated spot directed by Chris Boyle along with a series of long-form ads that explain the science behind people’s uncontrollable mindless shopping behaviour.

Yolt Unthink Money Campaign - GIF Ad
Image source: Uncommon Creative Studio


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What is ‘Unthink Money’ all about?

Yolt’s mission is to give everyone the power to be smart with their money. Working with Uncommon, we wanted to explore the ways in which people can take control of our money, with a playful take on the science behind why we spend the way we do.

The Lizard Brain is the primal part of your brain that drives your most basic desires-like what, need, fight, and flight. The primal instincts, deep-rooted within our limbic system, form a tiny (but super powerful) part of our brain. In smaller animals, like lizards, it’s the most dominant bit and leaves little room for anything else. Almost every decision a reptile makes is driven by its limbic system.

In humans, we too have the Lizard brain (although it's much smaller). The lizard brain thrives on impulse and desire, which means it can easily take over your spending decisions. We make almost all of our spending decisions without even thinking about them.

When it comes to finances, certain things can help people to feel more in control, like setting budgets and goals. One of the things the lizard brain is not so good at, is forward planning. When it comes to smashing saving goals, your lizard brain can be an absolute demon. It can feel like it’s determined to derail your best efforts. Yolt's latest campaign brought to life these concepts, unpacking how people can tame their lizard brain in order to take control over their finances.

Can you walk us through Yolt’s campaign development process?

When approaching a campaign, we always want to make sure we have the customer at the front of our minds, so much so that the campaign should be able to reflect the interests of our users. We recognise that our potential customers lie at the heart of every campaign we create, and we are always looking for creative and engaging ways to connect with them.

So, the steps we take to create engaging and creative campaigns are:

  • mapping out a campaign objective,

  • understanding our audience and therefore knowing where to target,

  • discuss insight into what we want the campaign to produce,

  • implementing a brand strategy for the campaign to keep it on parallel with Yolt’s image,

  • recognise the product benefits that will be our USP,

  • then come up with the idea for the campaign,

  • channel down the messaging we want to be voiced across the campaign,

  • roll out our targeting, and

  • then finally integrating our campaign across channels.

Our development process is an open environment for us, we keep discussions transparent to employees and agencies, making sure everyone is aware of individuals' ideas and thoughts on the direction of the campaign. We want to drive a clear message of our product to set ourselves apart from the competition and connect to our core audience.

Did the Covid-19 pandemic affect Yolt’s campaign strategy? What about Yolt’s overall marketing efforts?

The pandemic naturally shifted the way in which we could develop the campaign as a working team, in partnership with our creative agency Uncommon. But we adapted to remote working and ensured lines of communication remained open, which was imperative in making sure a shared end goal for the campaign was achieved.

If anything, the pandemic reinstated the need for Yolt to launch this campaign when we did - since the financial priorities of our customers were changing considerably in light of the pandemic. Many of our users were reporting that despite an increased desire to save, they were finding it near impossible to do so in the challenging economic climate. It was clear that now, perhaps more than ever before was the time to be supporting people to spend smart and save.

What’s next for Yolt?

We’re continuing to develop the Yolt app implementing helpful tools, and relevant content and campaigns across our channels to further enable our users to spend smart and save. For example, we are expanding our partner set to further help people to save, by switching their household bills, earning cashback on their purchases, or growing/investing their savings via our investment partners.

We’ve also been investing in market-leading research to further understand the financial landscape and people's sentiment towards their finances - to create helpful blogs, digital events, guides, and top tips to help people to spend smart and save. No matter what the financial landscape looks like, we’ll continue to develop the Yolt app with our users and their changing financial priorities, at the forefront of our product development strategy.

What trends do you think will be shaping the fintech industry in 2021?

Covid-19 has accelerated the expectation for financial services to be digitalised, so the adoption of personal finance apps and online banking more generally is likely to increase. Likewise, the consumer expectation for the same seamless experience that tech giants such as Amazon and Apple are able to offer has trickled into the financial services sector, so customer experience could prove to be a USP for many brands in 2021.

Likewise, there’s a growing need for brands within the financial services landscape to go above and beyond to deliver additional resources to support people through the pandemic. Here at Yolt, we’re exploring lots of ways to support our audience beyond our app offering - whether that’s useful blogs on how to prepare your finances for a recession and how to protect yourself from financial shocks or case studies on how others have managed to master their finances through these challenging times. This landscape is also likely to foster even more increased competition as fintech’s race to diversify their services, adapting their apps to serve a growing customer base hungry for convenience, speed and seamless app experiences.


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