Anyone who’s been to the Big Apple knows impressing jaded Manhattanites is no easy task, but Citi on Nov. 14 had New Yorkers jumping for joy with its “JOYTM,” which looked like a standard ATM from the outside, but offered a surprise and delight twist. Instead of cash, the machine dispensed tickets that could be exchanged for prizes ranging from subway cards to airline miles. The activation served as a component of Citi’s broader “Welcome What’s Next” initiative, which aims to inject emotion into the financial services sector by highlighting life’s small moments of joy. It also served as the company’s first consumer brand campaign in several years.
“The campaign that we launched links back to how the brand is creating these moments of joy,” says Jennifer Breithaupt, global consumer cmo at Citi. “We’re with customers throughout their financial journey, whether that’s buying a house or opening their first bank account, or wherever they are in that journey that [we can] make it easier for them.”
The Times Square-based activation was joyful from the start. Consumers first jumped into a massive ball pit and waded their way through to the JOYTM. The machine then dispensed either a blue or gold ticket. Blue tickets could be exchanged for smaller prizes like metro cards, while gold tickets could earn consumers everything from American Airlines miles to concert tickets. After snagging their ticket, the consumer cashed in to the residing “joy teller,” who distributed a prize. The experience even begot an organic moment of joy when a couple got engaged in the ball pit.
The JOYTM activation was also supported by surprise and delight moments in Citi’s New York City and San Francisco branches, where pop-up musical performances delighted staff and customers alike.
“All of these activations were a way for us to bring the campaign to life by connecting these little moments that were eliciting optimism about what’s next,” says Breithaupt. Agencies: SoHo Experiential; Publicis, both of New York City.