Western Union

The New Faces of WU

The Ask

Western Union wanted to introduce their new brand platform “THIS IS WU” in Canada and “WU” as their new global moniker. In doing so, they wanted customer involvement and not just a passive announcement.

The Audience

Multi-ethnic, money transfer users, 21-60 years old

The Insight

Selfies, the reigning visual status update of today, is popular among Western Union customers who keep in touch with loved ones who are far away from them. The ubiquity of the smartphone has made taking and sending selfies easier via SMS and social media. With the selfie’s popularity and ease of use, we used it as the “audition” piece for Western Union’s future brand ambassadors.

The AV Answer

Let’s get re-acquainted! Allow “WU” to introduce itself, and invite their customers to do the same... through their selfies! Execute this via a nationwide “Casting Call”—through selfie submissions—to generate a new, multi-ethnic talent pool for Western Union Canada’s upcoming campaigns on the new “THIS IS WU” platform.

We launched an online contest where participants uploaded their selfies to a microsite for a chance to win $500 and appear in Western Union’s upcoming ad campaigns. For added engagement and shareability, selfies were voted on, with the top 25 receiving the cash prize. To further attract participation, we collaborated with our digital media to schedule, feed, and loop selected selfies to huge, outdoor digital screens in Toronto and Vancouver.

Participants were informed of their scheduled appearance so they could go personally and see their larger than life selfies as Western Union ads! These ads were personalized for each participant, featuring their name and the country they send money to.

5 grand prize winners, chosen by popular vote and a Western Union jury, became the new faces of the WU platform and succeeding Western Union ad campaigns.

The Impact

The campaign received:
• 2,041 participants;
• 125,355 votes;
• 6,770,196 media impressions.

Plus, a post-advertising survey revealed:
• 64% of WU customers are likely to use Western Union for their next money transfer overseas while 49% of non-WU users were persuaded to likely use Western Union as well;
• 79% of WU customers liked the campaign and 43% of non-customers did too;
• The campaign propelled Western Union’s brand awareness from 88% to 95%.

Western Union Canada successfully ushered in the new face of WU with the help of their loyal customers... and their selfies! And of course, Western Union’s campaigns are now featuring their selfie stars!


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