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Off the Cuff Payments

by Contagious I/O

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Aussie bank teams up with high-end menswear brand to score wearable tech cool points

Australia’s Heritage Bank has teamed up with men’s fashion brand M. J. Bale to create the Power Suit -- a classically tailored suit with contactless Visa payWave technology embedded in its cuff.

The merino wool suits are made in Japan by M. J. Bale, and include what the bank has dubbed ‘Payweave’ technology: wearers can pay at payWave terminals with a simple swipe of the sleeve. Contactless NFC payment chips are threaded into the jacket, and linked to a Heritage Bank account, allowing the wearer to check their balance and top up the suit from the bank’s mobile app.

The brands have made a trial run of 12 suits, 11 of which were gifted to lucky customers of the bank. The final suit was auctioned on online auction site eBay, with the proceeds going to rugby player Mat Rogers' autism charity, 4 ASD Kids.

The suits are dry cleanable, and Power Suit accounts can be suspended or cancelled in case of loss or theft.

Via WhybinTBWA, Sydney.

Contagious Insight

(Ad)Dressing the problem / It’s no secret that wearable technology has a one fatal flaw. It’s damn ugly. Despite the numerous predictions concerning the value of the market over the next few years (Juniper research reckon that by 2018 it will be worth $19 billion), the awkward, clunky designs of wearable devices may have been a significant barrier to widespread adoption. Some effort has been made to address this: Google’s collaboration with hipster eye-wear brand Warby Parker to bring some much-needed chic to Google Glass last year was a step in the right direction, as was Fitbit’s partnership with Tory Burch. The Heritage Bank/M.J. Bale campaign doesn’t just try to shoehorn design onto the end of the technology, it actually makes wearable tech… wearable.

Bank like Bond / This campaign ultimately lends both brands a massive helping of James Bond-style cool -- making banking a hidden-gadget powered experience worthy of everyone’s favourite sharp-suited spy. While M. J. Bale has some history of pulling off PR stunts, this is an interesting move for Heritage, which operates in a notoriously stuffy sector but has some pedigree in exploring new technology -- the bank was one of the first financial institutions in Australia to introduce online banking in 1999. This campaign not only makes Heritage looks like it has a sense of humour, it sets it apart from the crowd and reaffirms its tech-savvy credentials.


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