2021 Winner


Financial Fairness


GoldEvolution Strategy: Keeping it Fresh

BronzeCreative Catalyst

BMO has a strong track record of championing the advancement of women, from the bank’s long-standing support of women entrepreneurs, to achieving over 40% female leadership within the bank itself. In an industry that’s traditionally run by men, for men, BMO stands out as a bank that invests in women.

In the past, BMO focused its support of women on female leadership, but BMO’s purpose had evolved to championing banking as a force for good, so they shifted their approach to gender equality by putting finances at the core of how they’d empower women.

BMO’s goal was to empower women in their financial lives. To do this, the agency set out to fight gender bias in the financial system by addressing the root causes of women’s disempowerment, highlighting a critical need for change.

Success was measured against three key objectives: driving brand recall, driving brand favourability and driving brand engagement. Women grow up in a culture that tells them they are bad with money; that they are incapable and reckless around their finances - is it any wonder that so many of them believe it?

Women control 40% of global wealth, but while they are financially more empowered, their financial confidence hasn’t kept pace. Women have been culturally primed to believe that they don’t have the knowledge to manage their own financial decisions and wish they were more confident.

Women are less likely to engage in financial planning. Most married women (58%) defer financial planning decisions to their husbands, even when they are the primary breadwinner. A lack of financial engagement leaves women vulnerable, being 80% more likely than men to retire in poverty.

Women aren’t inherently less confident or competent with money, they’re just conditioned to feel that way. From “retail therapy” to “marry rich,” women are surrounded by a cultural narrative that paints them as reckless, incapable, and inferior around finances. The more society tells women they’re bad with money, the more they believe it.

In the past, BMO had fought gender bias in the context of leadership by highlighting a lack of representation of female leaders in the media. This year, gender bias continued to be addressed, but this time the context of money by exposing the invisible stereotypes that dismantle women’s financial confidence.

Most women experience financial bias, but few are aware of the impact. For International Women’s Day, BMO started a conversation that was long overdue, telling the story of one woman’s lifelong experiences with negative cultural programming and its end result. This story told every woman’s story.

The idea was to expose the stereotypes that hurt women’s financial confidence in order to rewrite women’s relationships with their finances. The Financial Fairness campaign launched with the film ‘Jane Grows Up’ to show how a lifetime of negative stereotyping erodes a woman’s confidence with money. The story spotlights seemingly small and harmless moments to demonstrate their cumulative impact on Jane. Then the video flips the script, showing that if we can #bankruptthebias we can help dismantle the myth that women are bad with money and build women’s confidence.

The film and short-format videos highlighting biased labels exposed the issue and drove consumers to their content hub to learn more about this unconscious but harmful bias.
They collaborated with women financial influencers to help amplify their story. Mrs. Dow Jones, The Fiscal Femme, and Jamila Souffrant shared Jane’s story through their channels which drove engagement and created organic conversations with their follower base.

The next phase was to rewrite the biased narrative that Jane, and all women, encounter. They rewrote the bias labels with a series of GIFs that flipped the meaning of common stereotypes from harmful to empowering, intercepting anyone about to use the label with a new, positive meaning. “Shopaholic” turned to “Stockaholic”, and “Gold Digger” flipped to “Goal Digger.”
These labels are still present in dictionaries: “Gold Digger: Someone, usually a woman, who tries to attract a rich person, usually a man, in order to get presents or money”. To create real, lasting change, they created a petition on change.org that empowers people to advocate to remove biased language from dictionaries.

Finally, the agency rewrote the model of what a financial expert is. They launched the Chief Allowance Officer, making a young girl BMO’s financial expert who taught other girls financial basics with online videos.

By starting to rewrite the bias that holds women back from financial empowerment, BMO built an emotionally charged, purpose-driven campaign that far exceeded its goals:
Brand Reach and Recall was +19.8 pts (compared to financial norm of +6.1), had 90MM+ impressions and 50MM views of Jane videos. For brand Favourability, it had +7.1 pts (compared to financial norm of +0.7 pts) and 99.3% positive/neutral social sentiment. For brand engagement, it drove 83,400 customers to BMOForWomen.com, a 348% increase in visits compared to their campaign objective, 42% of users spent more than 15 seconds on the campaign’s content page, up from 33% during last year’s campaign and a 109% increase in the use of #BMOforWomen compared to 2019 campaign.

Client: BMO
Head, Marketing and Strategy: Catherine Roche
VP North American Brand & Social Media: Jennifer Carli
Director, Brand Advertising: Shelley Johnsen
Manager, Brand Management & Enterprise Marketing: Kaleigh MacMaster

Creative Agency: FCB Canada
Chief Creative Officer: Nancy Crimi-Lamanna & Jeff Hilts
Group Creative Director: Andrew MacPhee & Jeremiah McNama
Associate Creative Director: Elma Karabegovic
Copywriter: Shannon McCarroll
Broadcast Producer: Anne-Marie Martignago

EVP, General Manager: Tracy Little
VP, Managing Director: Tim Welsh
VP, Group Account Director: Erin Howes
Account Director: Allison Lochhead
Account Supervisor: Ali Gayowski
Project Manager: Camille vanGroll

Chief Strategy Officer: Shelley Brown
Planning Director: Eryn LeMesurier

Production Company: Untitled Films
Director: Hubert Davis
Executive Producer: Peter Davis
Line Producer: Trudy Turner
DOP: Kiel Milligan

Editorial: Rooster Post Production
Editor: Michelle Czukar
Executive Producer: Samantha MacLaren

Post Production: Alter Ego
Colourist: Eric Whipp
Flame Artist: Darren Achim

Music: Apollo
Music Director/Composer - Apollo: Daenen Bramberger
Executive Producer - Apollo: Tom Hutch

Casting: Shasta Lutz, Jigsaw Casting

Media Agency: UM
VP Client Business Partner: Kate Mateer
Group Director: Tim Davies
Director, Connection Planning: Katey Gault
Account Manager: Rachel Pearson
Campaign Manager, Social: Alex Perkes
Director, Performance: Hailey Smith
Associate Director, Programmatic Strategy: Isaac Bunn
Senior Associate, Campaign Manager: Sai Dubakka

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