Nedbank reimagines banking with the #ilive4 campaign


Nedbank’s #ilive4 television campaign, for its new Money app, attempts to drive home the message that money does not give one purpose.

Joe Public’s creative duo, Buyani Duma and Tshepo Mogorosi conceptualised the ad, inspired by their real-life experiences and people’s relationship with money to better their lives.

Both, Duma and Mogotosi expand: “This campaign is for the people. Everybody interacts with money in different ways, but the common truth is that money is not their sole purpose. Purposes differ, and the concept highlights that by putting emphasis on what each individual lives for.”

Joe Public has been working with Nedbank for the past few years, handling their above-the-line output for their entire portfolio from Wealth, to CIB and Retail, shares Tshepo. However, this is the largest project that they have ever undertaken for Nedbank.

“The client wanted to give the bank a more human face. Our vision for the bank was to make it the inclusive financial institution that it has the potential to be,” says Duma.

As part of the brief for the campaign, the ad had to show how the new Nedbank Money app will enable clients to manage their finances effectively. “We brainstormed and reviewed with creative directors who helped us refine our thinking in ways that answer the brief. We came up with the big idea first and then went on to apply it to different mediums,” the pair says.

The creative team came up with six themes – love, movement, freedom, empowerment, growth and tomorrow – which are explored using six different characters in the commercial.

PHI’s Jonathan Parkinson and Nicole Ackerman were given the same brief along with a script highlighting the campaign message: ‘I don’t live for money, but it gets me what I live for.’

“Our approach was (as always) to examine the concept and come up with the most original and impactful way of translating the written word into a film. It was an amazing script, and completely fired our imagination, expanding on various scenes, altering others, and coming back to the agency with a pitch that won them over,” shares Ackerman.

“The concept moves around the idea that first comes passion and inspiration – the things we live for – and then comes the money to enable us to achieve those goals and dreams. It suggests that Nedbank will listen, will support and be there when they are needed, collaborating in the success of a human,” adds Parkinson.

Casting for the roles was done by casting director, Marina Van Tonder: “We wanted to find people who were fresh and new, unseen, unused as much as possible. We wanted people who live with passion for their future. We wanted to represent an honest perspective of the South African society – not just cookie cutter/stock image stereotypes. We created characters that had rich backstories. We were also able to cast gender ‘non-specific’ characters including a beautiful transgender woman,” shares Ackerman.

In the spot, the ‘love’ theme is showcased through the cultural connection to sneakers shared by a young couple. ‘Movement’ gives viewers a glimpse of the annual AfrikaBurn festival, which takes place at a vast open field in the Tankwa Karoo.

‘Freedom’ is presented by a former ballet dancer, who now wears a prosthetic leg and has found a new passion in designing prosthetic legs for others like her. The theme of ‘empowerment’ gives voice to people living with albinism, the LGBTQ community and plus-sized women.

‘Growth’ is captured on the back of a man with a visual of a tree tattoo which grows before our eyes, and ‘tomorrow’ is told through the story of a pregnant hotel manager who is planning her life with her future child.

In the conceptualisation process, the colour green was the obvious starting point for the ad, Parkinson shares. However, broader colour palettes were included when the team came across a Cuban fashion editorial.

“We also had an undertone of ‘Afrofuturism’ in the look, a science fiction movement – which is deeply rooted in South African (or African) heritage but looks to technology and the future. This approach felt right because we wanted to retain the heritage of Nedbank, but also show that the brand was invested in the future. So we included futuristic metal elements as well as traditional South African elements – such as the festival sculpture, the prosthetic leg, the metal sneakers and the décor in the hotel set up,” Parkinson comments.

The shoot took five days to complete and was shot in and around Johannesburg. Outside scenes included Maboneng at night; the AfrikaBurn festival and a sculpture set which was shot at a building site in Germiston. Interior locations involved a setup of a tattoo parlour which was shot at the gentleman’s toilet in a restaurant in Newtown.

The commercial was shot on an Arriflex mini using Canon K35 lenses. Parkinson attributes the use of the 70’s lens to their ability to add extra texture to a digital age. “We are always looking for ways of toning down the ‘squeaky clean’ aspect of digital formats and making them more like the beautiful quality of traditional film. This combination was hand-held throughout the filming, purposefully giving the picture an authentic edge to it,” he says.

DOP Adam Bental convinced the team to shoot the ad 4:3 instead of with anamorphic lenses, which Ackerman says gave them surprisingly amazing results. “So many of our locations had an incredible height to them, (therefore) it created a connection between our locations and our characters that we felt really added to their stories,” she explains.

“In terms of lighting and camera language, we wanted to use in-camera light movement to give the piece an energy and an urgency that mirrored the passion of our characters. We also planned lighting changes around editing points between scenes, so that the cut flowed seamlessly,” Ackerman adds.

The team also found a soundtrack that they loved and incorporated into the storyline by using a pianist, who features throughout the ad and is seen going through the creative process of completing his tune. The track brings different music styles as it paces from a mellow and classical intro, and escalates to a raw and upbeat tune to blend with the narration and feel of the different scenes. “We felt that conceptually this worked as again it spoke to the heritage of the brand, but gave the piece a modern twist. It also captured the passion that we were trying to portray throughout the piece,” Ackerman says.

Graham Smith carried out the editing, while final grade was done by Jax Harney at Cheat in London.

Within days of the #ilive4 campaign launch, the spot was rated as one of the top two international communication campaigns of the week by Adforum in France. The ad has also been applauded here at home, by The Citizen editor Brendan Seery who gave it a prestigious Orchid mention.

Speaking about the recognition, Duma says: “It means more than anything that people believe in the idea, which is based on human truth and that is what advertising is about.”

Ackerman also commented: “We really believe that audiences’ eyes glaze over very quickly and that any new TVC has to work hard in that space to catch the attention of the audience. They want ‘different’, and they want to be entertained. However, above all, they want authenticity, integrity, and honesty, especially when it comes to a bank.”



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