Zelle is looking for customers — and investing heavily in television advertising to bring them in.
With a price tag in the tens of millions and featuring Daveed Diggs of Hamilton fame as a spokesperson, Zelle is getting very serious about bringing its message about the power of P2P payments to the people.
Well, the people who aren't already using Venmo, anyway.
The first advertisement hit the air Sunday during the NFL playoffs — and will continue to feature heavily in high traffic (high cost) spots that tend to attract a wide swatch of viewers from a variety of backgrounds like the Grammy Awards, the NBA All-Star Game and the Super Bowl pre-game show.
Zelle is also making a run on the more niche TV watchers of the world, with spots on Bravo, Comedy Central, The Discovery Channel, ESPN and MTV.
Zelle is built directly into member banks’ existing mobile apps, which is theoretically an advantage since some 80 percent of Americans have already download their bank's mobile app — though it is not clear how often average consumers actually use that app. While some studies show well over half of all consumers regularly using their mobile banking app to do things like check balances, other less optimistic studies indicate that only about 20 percent of consumers actually use their bank’s mobile app. Also, Zelle has a name recognition issue to overcome — particularly as its competitor, Venmo, is well-known and well-loved by its user base.
“In our research, we learned that people who are peer-to-peer skeptics are those resistant to using something outside traditional banking,” said Rose Corvo, chief administrative officer for Early Warning (the firm that runs Zelle).
“The fact that they have it in their banking app — that gets through the safety barriers in mind.”
And, advertising never hurts when it comes to planting a seed in a consumers’ minds about what goods and services they need.
“You’re going to see Daveed Diggs using spoken word to bring life to how money is exchanged in our world today,” Corvo said, with actors describing Zelle in rhyming couplets, which is a good technique to build recall.
“We chose him because he’s an ambassador of the spoken word art form. The same way Zelle is a disrupting category, we went with an emerging artist rather than an established one.”
Corvo neglects to mention that the adds are also entirely delightful. Really — check it out for yourself.