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by Contagious I/O

This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O, our customisable research platform featuring the world’s most innovative, creative and effective ad campaigns and marketing ideas

Australian bank blings up cash machines for Mardi Gras sponsorship

Rainbows, sparkles and unicorns: the humble ATM has never looked so fabulous. Australian bank ANZ has blinged-up ten ATMs around Sydney to celebrate its sponsorship of the city’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras event.

The bank commissioned artists to transform its ATMS into what it’s describing as ‘GAYTMs’ - adorning them with gay iconography, and even designing rainbow receipts that read ‘Cash out and proud’. ANZ has partnered with charity Twenty10, which supports young people of diverse genders, sexes and sexualities, and has donated its ATM fees to the non-profit.

The campaign’s website explains the choices behind each design, for example, the naval themed ATM commemorates that this is only the second year that the Australian Defence Force is allowing its members to march in uniform in the Mardi Gras parade. Meanwhile, an animal print ATM signifies that sexual diversity has been observed in almost 1,500 different species. The website also features a map of the GAYTMs, encouraging revellers to snap photos of the machines and share them on Instagram and Twitter.

This marks the eighth year that ANZ has sponsored the MardiGras celebrations, although 2014 is the first year that the bank has been the principal partner of the event. The GAYTM campaign is via Whybin\TBWA Group, Melbourne.


Contagious Insight

Attracting 300,000 partygoers, Sydney’s Mardi Gras is a huge deal in Australia. ANZ has capitalised on the excitement for the event, gaining impressive media coverage, including on Buzzfeed and the UK’s Daily Mail, as well as national local publications. And the campaign has also encouraged people to share their own images of the GAYTMs on Instagram and Twitter (as you can see above), which is no small feat considering that most banks don’t usually have the most shareable content at their disposal.

Backlash / But this attention-grabbing initiative is not without risks. In fact it has provoked backlash from both sides of the fence, with some Twitter critics condemning the bank for reinforcing old stereotypes and accusing ANZ of profiting from civil rights issues. Others, such as Twitter users representing Australia’s Christian right, seemed to deride ANZ simply for its association with the Gay and Lesbian event.

Responding to criticism / An ANZ spokesperson dismissed the criticism that the bank wasn’t being sensitive to gay issues, by telling Contagious that ‘All profit from these GAYTMs went to a charity that supports young people who are coming out.’

We would agree that this donation aspect does save the campaign by showing the bank positively contributing to gay issues. And while ANZ’s embrace of unicorns and rainbows might encourage old stereotypes, one could argue that it does so no more than most gay parades do anyway, as this satirical piece in the Onion suggests. The timing of the initiative also protects ANZ, as it chimes perfectly with the over-the-top, colourful tone of Sydney’s Mardi Gras celebrations.

Inclusivity / Since 2009, ANZ’s positioning has been ‘We live in your world’, and that has come through in ads where the bank has argued that it understands its customers and their lifestyle. But the GAYTMs go beyond a customer-facing initiative. ANZ told Contagious that the project relates to the bank’s goal of being ‘known for promoting an inclusive and diverse workforce’. As Mark Hand, chair of ANZ Australia’s Diversity Council, said: ‘We create a customer base that represents a diverse constituency. If you want to be a big, successful company in Australia there’s no way you can be as successful as you want to be if you pushed 10% of the population aside.’

The GAYTMs are a fun, public way to declare to share a corporate message of diversity. They differentiate ANZ by giving the bank more personality and with more customers looking for brands that share that their ideologies, the bank’s employee policy could positively affect potential customers too.


This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O. Contagious I/O is our bespoke trends, inspiration, insight and analysis service, providing daily innovative marketing intelligence across a comprehensive range of sectors to brands and agencies across the world. For more information about Contagious I/O contact