How does a financial services company make banking sexy to a younger audience?
Synchrony Bank teamed up with agency Giant Spoon and Issa Rae’s music platform, Raedio, to create “The Bankroll EP,” an ambitious mixtape project that aims to do exactly that.
The tape features tracks from emerging artists Rae Khalil, Latashá, Amindi, Secret Jones and Jorge Amadeus, who share stories about building stable financial futures with style and substance.
The three songs featured on the mixtape focus on different money-centric stories. “Pay Out” is about spending cash without understanding the importance of saving. “Golden” focuses on the consequences of bad money habits. “Raindance” sends a message about learning new habits and building a successful financial future, and features an accompanying music video.
Synchrony’s goal with “The Bank Roll EP” was to make something that felt authentic, said chief marketing officer Chris Merrill.
“It couldn't be a bunch of people in the financial space writing songs,” he explained. “We wanted people to be entertained, but still drive the financial empowerment story.”
Synchrony gave the creative reins over to the artists, who were encouraged to write lyrics from their experiences. “It's not by a bunch of bankers saying ‘Don't do this,’” Merrill said.
Ian Grody, group creative director at Giant Spoon, said the mixtape tells relatable stories.
“These aren't songs about strangers, they're songs about you and me,” he said. “They are, in every way, me or someone I know during a certain phase in life. And that has been our pathway to success together.”
Raedio handpicked the artists from a group the company has worked with in the past. Benoni Tagoe, president of Raedio, helped the musicians to frame their personal financial journeys in a creative context.
“We asked questions about their struggles, the first time that they got their first big check, their strategy around saving, or the pressure of being a millennial living in a big city, and not being able to afford certain things,” Tagoe said.
The artists produced 13 songs over a three-day period, which were later whittled down to three tracks by the Giant Spoon team.
Synchrony Bank and Giant Spoon were introduced to Raedio after working with Rae’s content creation company, ColorCreative, on a six-minute short film that follows a woman who has to learns how to stop spending her whole paycheck. The project won Best Short Film at Tribeca Film Festival's Tribeca X.
“The Bank Roll EP” is the latest advertising mixtape to drop, on the heels of Wendy’s 2018 EP “We Beefin?” and Hamburger Helper’s 2016 mixtape “Watch the Stove,” which both went viral.
But Merrill’s goal isn’t to reach viral status, but to reimagine financial services advertising.
“We’re doing this as a way to figure out other means to reach audiences effectively and efficiently, especially around the topic of financial empowerment, which is not the easiest thing to conduct with consumers,” Merrill said.
“The Bank Roll EP” is available to listen to on Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal and other streaming services. The album is also available for download at TheRaedio.com.