- Ally Bank, the financial services company with $164 billion in assets, plans to release an interactive mobile game on Feb. 4, the day of the Super Bowl, to urge people to improve their saving habits, according to a press release by the company. "The Ally Big Save" aims to help people think about their personal savings goals using augmented reality (AR), the technology that overlays digital images on a real background seen through a smartphone camera.
- The mobile game asks users to enter a savings goal, such as money for a new home, college tuition or a dream wedding, for example. During the Super Bowl's commercial breaks, the app will show cartoon money raining down on a smartphone screen amid their real surroundings. Users can collect points by dragging the money into a virtual piggy bank for a chance to win cash to help them achieve their savings goals.
- Ally Bank's mobile game will be available for free download on iOS and Android phones on Jan. 31 ahead of Super Bowl Sunday. The bank's website, www.allybigsave.com, also has more information about the tool that aims to get consumers to think differently about their savings.
Ally Bank isn't an official Super Bowl sponsor, which likely explains why the company doesn't include the term "Super Bowl" in the announcement of its mobile game. But like other advertisers that seek to counter-program during the biggest televised event of the year, Ally Bank is actively encouraging audiences to look away from their TV screens and down at their smartphones. Adding elements like AR tech, gamification and a giveaway could help pique the interest of viewers and drive downloads of the game. The savings-related message of the app is also contrary to other ads that urge people to spend big around the big game, Andrea Brimmer, Ally's chief marketing and public relations officer said in the release.
The bank isn't the only company planning an "ambush campaign" that aims to piggyback on the massive publicity surrounding the annual football game rather than running a high-priced ad. Luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz will run a mobile-based promotion aimed at keeping people engaged on their phones instead of the TV. The company is giving away a sporty AMG C43 Coupe to the player who keeps a finger pressed on a streaming video of the car that drives across users' smartphone screens during the game.
Traditionally, brands kick off major campaigns with the Super bowl, which last year reached more than 111 million people. Considering that viewership of NFL games fell 9.7% during the current regular season from last year, brands needs to consider additional ways of engaging audiences to supplement their TV viewing with interactive mobile experiences.
Ally Bank's campaign arrives as Americans are piling up record levels of credit card debt to maintain lifestyles that stagnant wages have hampered. More than half of Americans (57%) have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts, according to a 2017 GOBankingRates survey cited by Ally. People also feel financially strapped, with two-thirds (63%) of Americans saying they can't handle an unexpected $500 car repair or a $1,000 emergency room bill.