EFFIE Awards 2005 by Z8J4Zp8G



DBS Bank – Woman’s Card Launch Campaign

Woman’s Card Launch

Credit card marketing is curiously male-oriented – the women you see in ads are typically adoring
wives and mothers, with no financial life of their own. Though financially independent women are
increasingly numerous, local banks tend to see them more as their husbands’ supplementary
cards than as a business target in their own right. Until recently, the only exception to this was the
UOB Lady’s Card.

But what an exception! Originally launched in 1989 on the strength of a powerful, almost feminist
campaign (‘Men just don’t get it’), UOB’s Lady’s Card created and owned the ‘credit card for
women’ market space. By mid-2004, some 80,000 Singaporean women* had found UOB’s
proposition appealing enough to sign up for a Lady’s Card of their own.

DBS didn’t think UOB should have this market to themselves, so they set out to create a viable
alternative: the first platinum-level card for women, loaded with privileges intended to reward
women uniquely – not just the same stuff guys get, wrapped in pink.

DBS’s Woman’s Card looked like a winner. But DBS expects its credit card launch campaigns to
yield awfully big numbers: 50,000 cards in force within the first year. The problem with this target?
There are only 140,000 women in Singapore** who meet the DBS Woman’s Card eligibility
requirements – and UOB’s Lady’s Card had captured 70% of them already.

DBS’s acquisition goal looked huge. With a 15-year head start, UOB looked to have the
race locked up. And did Singapore really need a second credit card for women?

*source: DBS Bank estimate
**source: government data

DBS wanted to use the Woman’s Card to build both its credit-card business and the larger brand:
   1. To achieve 50,000 cards in force by end of Year 1
   2. To generate additional revenue for DBS’s Credit Cards group
   3. To help improve DBS’s overall brand image and broaden its appeal, as measured by
      tracking and other research

In focus groups, we interviewed over 100 women eligible for the Woman’s Card, some as young
as 25, some as old as 60. While they have some different personal goals and priorities, as you’d
expect, they are universally impressive. Astoundingly self-confident and in control, able to play
many roles, make good life choices, unafraid to put their own needs first. Proud of what they’ve
achieved (and are still achieving) and think it’s high time someone recognised this. They don’t
define themselves vs. the men in their lives but instead see themselves as equal partners. They
love life and throw themselves into all its opportunities. They’re tough customers, equally able to
spot a bargain at 20 paces and to cut through the crap to find what’s really in it for them.

And: they see pampering themselves not as a luxury, but as a necessity. It’s simply something
they’ve earned.

The extensive interviews showed that while UOB owned the ‘card for women’ space, their offer
was not unassailable. Indeed, the very strength of its appeal seems to be a double-edged sword:
for every woman we interviewed who thought the ‘Men don’t get it’ campaign was clever and the
rose design of the card feminine, another told us she found the talent too bitchy, the tone too
aggressive. Not surprisingly, then, while the Lady’s Card was sitting in a lot of purses, it wasn’t
being used as often as its presence would suggest.

Three key insights from the research fueled our campaign development:
    1. UOB’s offer boils down to ‘the card for people who happen to be women’ – which meant
       there was higher ground for us to seize: talking to women not as one undifferentiated
       bloc, but instead creatively acknowledging some of the differences the research revealed
       (e.g., 20-somethings are not identical to 30- or 40-somethings).
    2. Playing back the specific cares and concerns of the target audience would resonate more
       deeply than UOB’s approach.
    3. The biggest opportunity of all was to be the first card to acknowledge Singapore’s
       financially independent women. The card for women who’ve done something. The card
       for women who’ve earned it.

We knew from competitive monitoring that our 2004 spend would outweigh that of UOB’s Lady’s
Card, but we did have a lot of catching up to do. So our media strategy was to concentrate our
fire, weighting to deliver impact via segmentation of both medium and message:

   To launch the card, we used the ‘20s’ and ‘30s’ newspaper ads, because they feature the
    independent woman as most people would recognise her – Good Friend and High Achiever
   To further cement the recognition of woman-as-leader, we used outdoor in the CBD area
    (where she works) and in the Orchard shopping belt (where she gets her retail therapy)
   To broaden the concept of ‘independent’ to include women’s roles as mother, wife and
    daughter, we added our ‘40s’ ad to the ‘20s’ and ‘30s’ executions run in targeted women’s
    magazines (Female, Nüyou and Elle) – speaking to our prospect when she’s most receptive

These more targeted media were supplemented with a splash of radio (live DJ reads and
program sponsorship) and TV. (DBS’s partnership with MasterCard gave them an existing :30
MasterCard TVC to tag with the Woman’s Card ID. This spot was supported with only 13% of the
total media spend and played no measurable role in the results reported in this entry. In fact,
DBS’s ‘Project Excellence’ research showed the spot was actually a drag on the Woman’s Card
campaign performance. But we’ve omitted it from our creative submission not because it didn’t
help, but rather because it wasn’t created to be part of the campaign.)

Radio, newspaper, consumer magazine, outdoor, TV
Total expenditure: S$1 to under 5 million

To support the media launch, DBS used targeted direct mail as well as taxicab take-ones and
discounts in the form of fee waivers, magazine subscriptions and the like – all of which are
standard Singapore credit-card marketing tactics.


Objective 1: 50,000 Woman’s Cards in force by the end of Year 1

   If we’d been driving, we’d have been pulled over for speeding, because between the launch
    on 14 May and 31 December, DBS issued 80,000 Woman’s Cards – 60% ahead of the
   Was the ad campaign responsible? It seems so: DBS research compared the Woman’s
    campaign to 8 other credit card campaigns and found that Woman’s was 78% more
    effective than the average credit card campaign in making women who saw it want to
    learn more about the card being advertised
   Also worth noting: DBS got 20,000 Woman’s Card applications in the campaign’s first month
    alone, and to date some 105,000 applications have been received – arguably a truer test
    of any card campaign’s appeal than the final acquisition figures
                                         (Source: DBS Bank, industry averages supplied by DBS,
                                                             & DBS ‘Project Excellence’ research)

Objective 2: Generate additional revenue for DBS Credit Cards group

   Usage of credit cards can be measured 2 ways: activation (the percentage of cards issued
    that actually get used) and utilization (the rate of spending on the card). The average
    activation rate for a new credit card is only 30% – but Woman’s has been activated at 60%,
    twice the norm. Moreover, retail spending patterns for WC are running 47% ahead of the
    typical pattern. In other words, twice as many women as expected are actively using
    their Woman’s Card, and they’re spending almost 50% more than they do with a gold
   No wonder, then, that Woman’s Card has added 8% to DBS’s total credit card revenues.
    Moreover, breakeven (recovering the costs of card manufacturing, processing, marketing,
    etc.) for most cards takes 3-5 years to achieve – but Woman’s Card is on track to hit
    breakeven in just a year and a half
                                                                            (Source: DBS Bank data,
                                                                 industry averages supplied by DBS)

Objective 3: help improve DBS’s overall brand image and broaden its appeal

   The campaign improved DBS’s image and its ability to connect with women. Tracking
    research found that women who had seen the campaign rated DBS more highly (i.e.,
    statistically significant, double-digit differences vs. women who hadn’t seen the ads) on:
              o Has a range of products and services that suit my needs
              o Offers a card that provides me the freedom to make my own choices
              o Offers promotional tie-ups that are relevant to me
   The campaign also created a broader halo beyond just Woman’s Card. The same research
    also found that, compared to those who hadn’t seen the ads, women who’d seen the
    Woman’s campaign were 43% more likely to be interested in any DBS credit card
   It’s also worth noting that in the Singapore credit card market, 92% of all new cards are
    issued to people who already have a credit card; less than 1 card in 10 represents ‘new
    money’ for the issuing bank. But 2 out of 5 Woman’s Card holders had had no prior
    relationship with DBS before they applied. In other words, 40% of the Woman’s Cardholder
    base have brought DBS ‘new money’, powerful testimony to the campaign’s ability to
    broaden DBS’s brand appeal and turn new audiences into new customers.
                                                         (Sources: DBS ‘Project Excellence’ research,
                                                         Credit Bureau Singapore Pte Ltd, DBS Bank)

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