Citi testing new channels in push with Rashida Jones and Dan Levy
As it courts younger generations and competes with new payment providers, Citi is running its largest marketing campaign dedicated to a product in the last decade, a new credit card designed for changing consumer behaviors born out of COVID-19.
The Citi Custom Cash Card offers cash back to users in categories where they are currently spending the most—a strategy that accounts for new spending habits rather than tying customers down into one area like travel. Categories include home improvement, fitness and dining out.
“We spent a lot of time looking at the cash-back category and recognizing that there was a lot of friction in consumers having to go through hoops to get rewarded for where they spend the most,” says Mary Hines, chief marketing officer of U.S. Consumer Bank at Citi, noting that during COVID many people had cards that were no longer relevant, like travel-reward products. “We wanted to create something that truly evolves with the consumer," she says.
The card will give 5% back by categories and 1% back on other purchases.
Marketing starring Rashida Jones and Dan Levy begins running this week.
Rather than focusing on print or out-of-home, the bank is trying to target younger generations in the digital space. The push will include linear TV, radio and digital media. Citi is also exploring new channels such as TikTok and will be spending with Snapchat, Twitch and Flipboard. In addition, it will be running an influencer campaign with individuals from each of the 10 categories in which the card offers rewards.
“We are particularly focused on demographics where media consumption has changed,” says Hines.
Citi will begin the campaign with five spots, including a 30-second one starring Jones and Levy that shows activities like fitness classes, roadtripping and dining out. The bank worked with Publicis on creative and media.
Citi faces a new group of competitors that are attracting younger generations for their interest-free offerings that allow more flexibility with how customers pay for goods. Such buy now, pay later purveyors include Klarna and Afterpay, which have both released high-profile marketing campaigns in recent weeks.
Hines says Citi’s new Custom Cash Card, as well as other cards from the bank, have a flex pay feature that let customers choose to pay for purchases over time.
“It’s been addressing that need of consumers wanting to have that financial control to make a purchase today and pay it over time but know it’s going to be paid off within a certain duration,” she says, adding that the new card still offers rewards, unlike buy now, pay later brands.