​#GAYNZ Twitter campaign boosts customer engagement and brand perception

Marketing experts reflect on the success of the recent ANZ partnership with Twitter as part of Sydney’s Mardi Gras

It’s not every day a bank decides to create its own gay-friendly Twitter hashtag and emoji in support of the gay, lesbian and bisexual community, but ANZ decided it had to do something different and powerful to show its support.

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, ANZ launched its #GAYNZ Twitter campaign, and was the first company to develop a ‘partner emoji’ in the APAC region, rolling out the only Pride flag on the emoji keyboard anywhere in the world for the duration of the event.

The social media campaign followed the initial launch of the first GayTMs across Sydney as part of 2014 Mardi Gras celebrations, and subsequent extension of the marketing program in 2015, which gave consumers the opportunity to win their own GAYTM.

“We felt very strongly that the time was right to elevate our support for the LGBTI community to a more brand level and reach a far broader audience,” ANZ head of marketing, Carolyn Bendall told CMO. “We are very strong believers as ANZ marketers in working with our main media, tech and social media partners to collaborate on creative and effective ideas.

“As the leading Australian bank on Twitter, we decided to approach the team very early in the idea generation phase to see how they could partner with us and develop something that could be quite ground-breaking, and really help us on the reach front and carrying the actual message. As a brand, we wanted to make a strong statement about our commitment to the concept of inclusion and respect, for our staff, our customers and the community as a whole.”

Carolyn Bendall
Carolyn Bendall



In a public display of pride, the bank’s Oxford Street branch was also rebranded GAYNZ, and rededicated in lavish, baroque-inspired furniture, marbled floor and murals that celebrated LGBTI culture.

With additional GAYTMs rolled out across the Sydney CBD, ATM operator fees for non-ANZ cardholders were also donated to Twenty10, a not-for-profit organisation working with and supporting people of diverse genders, sexes and sexualities, their families and communities.

“GAYTMS has been a wonderful way for ANZ as a bank to show its support for diversity, inclusion and respect,” Bendall said. “But this year, the challenge was to do better than that and dial it up a notch, which is why we went into discussions with our ad agency to see if we would be bold enough to put our brand mark out and come out to be #GAYNZ for a short period of time.”

Boost in engagement locally and abroad

Over the course of the #GAYNZ campaign, more than 1.8 million Australians were reached via Twitter. #GAYNZ was mentioned 4700 times globally, earning 24.6 million potential impressions, and was mentioned 2500 times in Australia, earning the brand 14 million potential local impressions.

On top of this, Bendall claimed the #GAYNZ campaign gained 816 million impressions across all social media channels and saw a 20 point lift in associating ANZ as a brand with diversity, inclusion and respect against a control base.

“The whole tone of this campaign and communications around Mardi Gras was supposed to be cutting edge and disruptive and we wanted to do something that wasn’t necessarily expected from a conservative brand like a bank,” Bendall said.

“In terms of results, the custom emoji certainly amplified the engagement, sharing and awareness of ANZ’s involvement in Mardi Gras. So we were very pleased with the way the campaign enhanced ANZ’s association with Mardi Gras and our message to support diversity, inclusion and respect.”

Twitter’s brand strategy advisor, Grant Baxter, said the way ANZ approached the campaign certainly sets a precedent for other financial institutions to take their social media campaigns to the next level and do something different.

“When it comes to campaigns of such scale, I think from the moment we saw the #GAYNZ concept we fell in love with it straight away, and we also saw from the team at ANZ a real appetite to one up the #GAYTM concept,” he said. “One thing I was really impressed with was the speed at which we could all move this once we discussed the original concept. Everyone got on board and was fully engaged in it. I think a lot of brands could learn from that.”

Baxter added ANZ’s whole attitude towards social media was very refreshing.

“It is as much about a brand’s attitude as it is the actual execution,” he said. “A lot of people talk about banks being conservative, but the #GAYNZ campaign just shows that if you produce good content and a good idea, people will engage with it. It was so accessible to the community and I think it sets us up very nicely for the future.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+: google.com/+CmoAu

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