SBAB bank drives home a serious message and reaches millions with rap on YouTube

Alex Pearson / September 2019

Rising property prices in Sweden have made it increasingly difficult for first-time buyers to get a foot on the housing ladder. With less savings and smaller pay cheques, younger people find it particularly hard to buy their first home. Under the tagline “everyone should have a home”, mortgage lender SBAB Bank AB makes housing more accessible.

So the message was serious, but to reach and appeal to younger people, the bank wanted to deliver it in a playful way. Casting comedian Björn Gustafsson, supported by musician Julia Frej, to rap about the various housing issues he faced while growing up, the goal was to create a lighthearted and humorous campaign. In doing so, the bank also took the risk of creating a video that lasts over 3 minutes in a world of supposedly diminishing attention spans.

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The mortgage lender used creative that appealed to younger audiences

To reach as many people as possible, the bank partnered with its marketing agency Pineberry, as well as creative agency EMAKINA DBG to run an awareness building campaign using YouTube’s TrueView in-stream format. This way, the ad plays for an initial 5 seconds before the viewer gets the choice to continue watching or to skip it. Advertisers only pay when a viewer watches for at least 30 seconds or until the end of the video, whichever comes first, or if they click on a card or another element of the in-stream creative.

The initial view goal was 5 million — ambitious in a country of just 10 million people — and the teams chose a broad audience to increase the campaign’s potential reach.

The unconventional creative decision paid off. With over 5.47 million views, the campaign was Sweden’s most-viewed YouTube ad in 2018. “YouTube was the perfect channel to promote this type of creative commercial,” says Simon Davidsson, Client Lead at Pineberry.

“What makes YouTube so unique compared to other media channels is the possibility to run a two or three minute commercial. It’s the most cost-effective format since it lets people watch the full length of the music video without us paying more than if it had been 30 seconds. No other marketing channel can give you that benefit.”

Benefits of the campaign: Awareness, interest and ad recall

The momentum gained by the series generated a mix of both paid and organic views, creating extra value in the process. The final episode registered over 680,000 organic views which resulted in an increased reach of over 13% on top of the paid traffic.

Beyond the comments and shares from an engaged audience, Search traffic increased by 41% compared to the same period in the previous year. A Brand Lift study revealed a relative increase of 66% in brand interest, 118% increase in ad recall, and a 25% improvement in brand awareness.

The results have encouraged SBAB to look for more online video opportunities moving forward. “As long as you have the right creatives and setup, YouTube has proven to be an effective marketing channel,” says Patrik Söder, Chief Marketing Manager at SBAB. “Depending on the nature of the campaign and the marketing objectives, SBAB will keep having YouTube as a part of their future marketing mix.”

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