News & Views

Insight & Strategy: GAYTMs

by Contagious I/O

On Contagious I/O, we examine why brands are innovating. Beyond writing up the ground-breaking and creative executions, we want to know why a brand is doing something differently and with what success.

One of the ways we do this is through our Insight & Strategy articles, where we interview the people who created a campaign to find out what the client's original business objectives were, what their challenge was in the marketplace and what research led them to the final execution.

So, last year, when we saw ANZ's sponsorship of Sydney's Mardi Gras we wanted to find exactly how the Australian bank used its presence to fuel conversation around a potentially divisive.

To give you a glimpse into the type of content behind the Contagious I/O paywall and find out how ANZ got the world talking about its corporate values of diversity, inclusion and respect, we've reproduced that article below.


Alex Jenkins, editor Contagious I/O

To celebrate its sponsorship of Sydney’s Mardi Gras, Australian bank ANZ commissioned artists to transform 10 ATM machines from functional to fabulous.

The bank donated its ATM fees to charity Twenty10, which supports young people of diverse genders, sexes and sexualities. A rainbow-coloured message reading ‘Cash Out and Proud’ was printed on cash receipts.

The campaign, via Whybin \TBWA Group Melbourne, won a Grand Prix in Outdoor at the 2014 Cannes Lions.

We spoke to Kimberlee Wells, executive director of TBWA, Melbourne, and head of TBWA’s Digital Arts Network, to discover the thinking behind the glitz.

What was the objective of the GAYTMs?

ANZ had been a major sponsor of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras since 2007. In 2014, it elevated its sponsorship to Principal Partner to further demonstrate its commitment to the festival, and the importance of diversity, in a fun and meaningful way. The GAYTMs provided an ideal canvas for the bank to communicate its support for the event. Visually it was out and proud. Financially it contributed funds to an LGBTI charity. And socially, it got the world talking about ANZ.

Were you targeting anyone in particular with the project?

The campaign had an explicit focus: to get the world talking about and celebrating three of ANZ’s corporate values: diversity, inclusion and respect. Naturally we were keen to ensure the message resonated with ANZ employees, potential employees, customers and the LGBTI community, but we certainly had ambitions far and beyond these audience groups. We wanted to reach everyone because in many ways, everyone stood to benefit from being exposed to the social sentiment and key messages the GAYTMs set out to deliver.

How does the project relate to ANZ’s positioning and the bank’s goal of having a diverse and inclusive workforce?

ANZ’s brand promise is ‘We live in your world.’ This campaign met its public smack bang in their world: in the streets surrounding the Mardi Gras Parade. It was an unexpected visitor, but it turned out to be one of the most popular. As for aligning with the bank’s goal of having a vibrant, diverse and inclusive workforce, staff members were overwhelmed by the public statement the bank made. The campaign evoked feelings of pride and passion from employees. It drove home ANZ’s respect for individuality, particularly when ANZ employees dressed as their drag alter-egos in short-form content pieces. GAYTMs unquestionably became the living social proof that ANZ could walk the walk.

How does this project follow on from what ANZ has done in previous years as part of its sponsorship of Mardi Gras?

This project was a significant step out into the limelight for ANZ. Previously, the sponsorship was activated through small-scale traditional media, as well as a float in the Mardi Gras Parade. Previous executions have always embodied the values and spirit of Mardi Gras, but never in such a tangible way. In my opinion, ANZ had joined the party previously. With GAYTMs, for the first time, ANZ joined the community.

What were the KPIs for the campaign?

Fuelling a social conversation was our main objective for the campaign. The by-product of this would be increased awareness of ANZ and its values, and hopefully increased usage of the GAYTMs so more funds could be raised and donated to Twenty 10, a LGBTI non-profit organisation. From the outset we set a target of 20+ million media impressions.

Do you have any indication of how much money was raised for the charity Twenty10 as part of the campaign?

This figure cannot be disclosed but we can say Twenty10 was very grateful for the donation. For some mental arithmetic, a receipt roll in the ANZ Oxford Street ATM normally lasts an average of one week. The first rainbow-coloured, receipt roll in the ANZ Oxford Street ATM lasted one hour. The GAYTMs were installed for about 10 days and there were 10 of them.

What is your response to the criticism that the GAYTMs reinforce gay stereotypes and that ANZ is profiting from civil rights issues?

We did a lot of research to understand the heritage of Mardi Gras. For some members of the LGBTI community, Mardi Gras is still an opportunity to feel a sense of community and comfort, a platform to voice their civil rights. For others, it’s a mass excuse for a party: glitz, glam and flesh.

We believe through GAYTMs we delivered something for both audiences. Sure, the GAYTMs dressed up for the party, but their presence deliberately centred around what they had to say. GAYTMs won’t be remembered because of the rainbow flags, unicorns or rhinestone cowboys. GAYTMs will be remembered because of how they made people feel and the messages of inclusion, diversity and respect. And that extends to the question about profiting. ANZ donated ATM fees from the GAYTMs to one of the very organisations fighting for civil rights. By and large, the response from the LGBTI community and beyond has been overwhelmingly positive.

Did you consider the risks of the campaign going in? Was there a measured calculation about the backlash that might occur and the potential for lost customers, vs. gaining new ones?

There were plenty of risks associated with this campaign. The first, and most important to me, was missing the mark with the LGBTI community. I didn’t want the campaign to come off as being tokenistic. I remember writing in one of the strategy decks, ‘We can’t just put lipstick on the piggy bank.’ The community is deeply connected, deeply passionate, and has an incredibly well-organised social footprint. If we failed to connect, ANZ might have been social media’s next victim. To that end, we agreed the strategy would be flamboyant yet meaningful. We thought of Mardi Gras a little bit like being invited to a fancy dress party. Our costume would get us in the door, but our story would be what made us interesting. The GAYTMs design rationales heroed messages of Mardi Gras. On the surface they looked fabulous but for those who wanted to explore further, they were individual stories waiting to be told. And of course, the donation of ATM fees added yet another layer to cement ANZ’s commitment.

Once the strategic risks had been resolved, we then had to face the operational ones. Like getting ATMs to spit out rainbow receipts, changing the screen messaging outside of lead times, buying out the world’s supply of rhinestones and getting the campaign up three days ahead of schedule. We ended up going live on a Friday, which also meant ANZ had to activate its social team to work outside of business hours. The campaign moved at such pace through the social sphere, which also brought with it its own set of risks and challenges. Monitoring conversations throughout the campaign period was critical to the success of the project. Sure there were a couple of murmurs from existing customers unhappy about ANZ’s outward support for Mardi Gras but that’s the wonderful thing about social media. ANZ didn’t need to say a word, the community did it all.

How have the GAYTMs changed perceptions of ANZ?

Positive social sentiment towards ANZ was unprecedented. The public and ANZ employees took the time to write personal heartfelt letters to senior bank staff. People commented through social feeds that ANZ was either a bank they were proud to bank with or one they would contemplate switching to. The media and bloggers jumped on board praising ANZ for celebrating Mardi Gras with such a bold public statement. ANZ is still one of the big four banks in Australia, but GAYTMs helped to give it a human face.

Are attitudes to homosexuality in Australia changing, and has that emboldened ANZ’s sponsorship?

Attitudes to homosexuality are certainly shifting. But this campaign isn’t just about homosexuality. It’s about diversity, inclusion and respect. Mardi Gras is but one platform ANZ uses to express these values. Emboldening the sponsorship of it was a wonderful opportunity to amplify ANZ’s voice and demonstrate its commitment to the LGBTI community, the thousands that march, the hundreds of thousands that watch the parade and the millions that have the power to spark a social conversation.