I love a brand that is willing to say, GAY. Too many companies celebrate Pride month, not enough say, “yeah, we’re really really queer, cheers and thanks.” The AA in the UK recently wrapped some of its vans in the pride flag and whilst – as a gay man – I am pleased to see increased visibility of LGBT+ symbolism on our streets, I am sad it didn’t just change its name to GAAY and be done with it. It is a modern-day corporate comms issue that companies spend double the amount of dollar adding rainbow colours to logos than they do donating to real issues; chem sex, marriage equality, daily homophobic abuse, suicide, homelessness, the list goes on and on.
In Sydney, for the last 12 years, ANZ bank has changed its ATMs to GAYTMs to celebrate diversity and inclusion. The bank is one of the major backers of the Aussie LGBT+ community becoming a principal sponsor of Sydney Pride in 2014, but its involvement stretches to almost 10 years. It also donates money to Twenty10, a not-for-profit organisation working within the community. It chose to involve itself in both the fun and the famine of being LGBT+ following a listening exercise with its own staff.
The Big Idea
Developed by ad agency Whybin/TBWA Melbourne and The Glue Society, the idea originated in very cash-reliant times. As someone who has seen his fair share of marches and parades, one thing that has always been true is the need for cash. You need to buy beer and T-shirts and banners and taxis and strippers and they all cost dollah. The bank knew that its ATM would interact with thousands of gay people over Pride time (Feb & March) so decided that rather than it being a faceless, cold transaction, they could, and would, be part of the conversation. That and it rhymes with ATM so… win win.
What They Did
The bank customises 10 ATMS (or cash machines for us Brits) along the parade route annually. Every year they are different, rhinestones, leather and this year, light-reflecting rainbow prisms. As Pride, and ultimately acceptance of the gay community, has grown so have the ATMs, especially when we remember that only in 2016 did the Government of Australia apologise for its historic anti-gay laws.
In my opinion, a good idea needs time to breath and the GAYTMs has grown year on year, maybe not in terms of the number of cash points but in the story-telling and social footprint. In 2016, the bank changed an entire branch into a celebration of love and inclusion, but it matters little about the size, it’s all about the art. The GAYTMs have become as much a symbol of Pride in all its camp glory as Coca-Cola is for Christmas. In 2014, it delivered ANZ the highest engagement rate of all Australian banks on Facebook, Insta and twitter showing a good idea is more important than the right channel. A good idea grows.
I always feel a bit of a dick telling other people how I would improve on their idea because the simple fact is, I didn’t come up with it, so well done you. But, if I were to be a cock about it then… I would have liked to have seen the number of cash points grow. I realise there are cost implications, but one of the big problems I have with Pride is that brands always look like they are trying to hide their support from the regions. And what now, the brand has the power, so it would be good to see it take up the responsibility of changing something dramatic for the community. The receipts that were printed at the ATMs would last a week in the hands of customers, compared to the average receipt which would last a day. Imagine what could be achieved with that amount of space in mind and on paper.
Next year, I would love to see the brand take an issue head on. It raises money for charity which is EXCELLENT, but imagine if it were to change law or legislation? Imagine if an ATM could change the world, not just your night out. The designs so far have celebrated the highs, perhaps one of them could celebrate the low just to shock people once again. With all great campaigns that have lasted the test of time, people wait for them. Imagine if next time, it wasn’t what people were expecting. It might backfire, but as a brand that took a huge risk in the first place, I am sure it could do so again.
I score it ‘Phwoar’ out of five... I have been told a score of 5 is hard to achieve but as brands in the UK look to celebrate Pride but, you know, not offend anyone, I am so excited by the journey of this campaign and have already shared it with a number of clients as a best-case example. Yes, it won LOTS of awards at Cannes, but the most important award on its list is the 2017 AWEI Employer of the Year at the Australian LGBTI Inclusion Awards.