2021 Winner

HomeEquity Bank

Catch the Scam

Zulu Alpha Kilo

SilverContent Strategy

HomeEquity Bank (HEB) provides reverse mortgages to Canadians over 55. HEB’s brand purpose is to give people the freedom to live retirement their way by retiring in the homes they love. In the last three years, HEB has railed against the tropes and cliches of marketing to older people, with campaigns that have been positive, empowering and reflect the reality of retirees continuing to live to the fullest.

During the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the cases of financial fraud targeted at Canadian seniors increased significantly. As Canadians were all forced to spend more time indoors because of the nationwide lockdown, criminals targeted seniors with telephone and online scams that were costing millions. As numerous news outlets, including The Globe and Mail and Global News, reported: “The pandemic has created a perfect storm for scammers seeking to defraud panicked, isolated and emotionally vulnerable targets.” A quantitative research study commissioned by HEB early in the pandemic confirmed that among Canadians 55+, 91% felt they are more vulnerable to fraud. Over half these respondents revealed they’d already been targeted by scammers in some form or fashion.

Clearly, there was a cause for concern. HEB wanted to address this in a way that was responsive, genuinely helpful, and true to the brand it is building. The challenge was to reinforce HEB’s profile as an advocate for seniors at a period of time when COVID-19 has made them especially vulnerable: If you can learn the scam, you can catch the scam before it’s too late. The pandemic spurred on the behaviour at the root of the problem, but it also pointed to the solution.

One of the pandemic’s most interesting developments was the dramatic increase in the amount of time spent online. It was commonly reported that social media and YouTube usage was going through the roof. The agency had also noted that the popular online educational company MasterClass reported a 100% increase in subscribers as people took the opportunity to learn new skills from leading experts in their field, be it cooking, business, music or writing – whatever it was that interested them.

Catch the Scam: a masterclass that teaches retirees the very scams they are being targeted with. Frank Abagnale is the world’s best-known scammer. A former con man turned security consultant, he was notably portrayed by Leo DiCaprio in Catch Me If You Can and is the best-selling author of Scam Me If You Can. Using his expertise and a content-driven strategy combining education and entertainment, they showed seniors how to Master the Scam.
Each instalment of the episodic content begins with Abagnale setting up a particular phone scam before he dives deeper into its psychological and financial mechanics. Along the way, he infuses his infamous charm and wit, providing the high degree of watchability needed to ensure viewership.

The content was delivered as a four-part series through YouTube and Facebook. Each Catch the Scam episode focused on scams that targeted Canadian seniors: “The Grandparent Scam” – scammers posed as a victim’s grandchild in need of cash, “The Lottery Scam” – scammers lead victims to believe they’ve actually won money, “The Romance Scam” – scammers romantically charm victims out of large sums, and “The CRA Scam” – scammers pose as Canada’s federal tax agency to collect back taxes.

Frank, the master scammer himself, noted that he has made a career out of giving seminars on financial fraud, but in his experience, HEB’s approach to helping protect seniors through insightful content like Catch the Scam is unique.

The campaign generated over 1M views on YouTube and Facebook on a paid media budget of $2,500. The campaign garnered significant top-tier broadcast and online coverage across Canada and beyond with more than 35 million media impressions. Frank’s profile ensured media attention, resulting in him being interviewed by news organizations like Bloomberg, Yahoo!, Global News, and BNN as networks looked to help ensure seniors everywhere could Catch the Scam.

Agency: Zulu Alpha Kilo
Chief Creative Officer: Zak Mroueh
Creative Director: Irfan Khan
ACD/Art Director: Kevin Sato
ACD/Writer: Vinay Parmar
Account Team: David Tremblay, Jenn Gaidola-Sobral
Strategy Team: Tim Hopkins, Sean Bell
Client: HomeEquity Bank
Client: Yvonne Ziomecki, Vivianne Gauci, Erin Wilson, Niary Toodakian
Media: Iquanti
Media Team: Justin Lee & Yogesh Garbyal
Public Relations: Provident
PR Team: Morgan McLellan & Matt Roth
Production Company: Zulubot/Levelwing
Director: Mills Allison
Producers: Mitch Cappe, Kristina Loschiavo
Post Production: Zulubot
Executive Producer: Tom Evans
Editors: Ashlee Mitchell, Shiv Harrilal
Motion Graphics: Ashlee Mitchell
Colour: Felipe Chaparro
Audio: Noah Mroueh

Have questions? Need help?
Contact Rowan Traynor at 1-416-408-2300 x213 or rtraynor@brunico.com.