November 10, 2020
EXCERPT: Ally Bank has teamed up with Nintendo's Animal Crossing: New Horizons in an effort to "gamify" its attraction of younger customers.
Gamers might be excited about Animal Crossing: New Horizons, a video game from Nintendo that allows players to escape to an island and create their own oasis. But why is Ally Bank showing interest in the game?
Ally is participating in the game as part of a plan to attract younger customers and make its brand more relatable to a wide array of demographics. Bank executives have long been seeking a way to make more human connections with customers, and tapping into the lucrative gaming industry may be an effective way to do just that.
Animal Crossing Has a Financial Component That Ally is Looking to Capitalize on
Animal Crossing players are spending real cash on beautifying their homes, planting flowers, and creating a better island in addition to working to earn their rewards.
Players can earn "bells," the currency in the game, by completing a variety of tasks, including picking fruit and fishing. They can then use that currency to purchase in-game items, like clothes, equipment, and improvements on their homes. And once a week, players can buy turnips and can later sell them to raccoons for profit. Prices of turnips are dictated by the "stalk market."
Ally isn't the first bank to play around with different strategies in an effort to expand its reach. Other banks have already been trying their hand at various tactics to draw in a younger demographic.
JPMorgan Chase, for instance, recently came up with a bank account designed specifically for children, which helps to expand their customer base while teaching kids financial literacy. Texas Tech Credit Union recently released an interactive social media game, and Clinton Savings Bank has also been looking into a social media ambassador program.
It's also not the first time Ally Bank has experimented with gaming and financial transactions. Last year, Ally + Monopoly was launched, which transformed six cities in the US into real-life Monopoly boards.
Ally's Gamification Tactics Are Expected to Attract a Younger Demographic to its Brand
The Animal Crossing: New Horizons game came out at the perfect time when lockdowns began as the pandemic struck. As such, the game broke sales records. It was the best-selling video game in March, the same month that a record number of Nintendo Switch units — the platform that the game is played on — were sold.
Gamification has been used in a variety of applications to motivate and teach people, and Ally is looking to capitalize on that fact. While traditional financial education may be mundane and sometimes confusing, incorporating financial activities in a game setting can create more enthusiasm for financial literacy.
Gamers on Ally Island in New Horizons may be having fun while playing, but they're also subconsciously learning about how to manage their money while simultaneously developing a positive outlook toward the Ally brand. The plan is for more players to engage with Ally Island and eventually become real-life clients.
While it may take some time for Ally to assess how effective this effort will be, there has already been incredible demand among players to visit Ally Island and sell their digital turnips to Ally Bank.
So far, Ally has had a lot of positive feedback from players, with many planning to open an Ally bank account. The game attracts not only millennials, but also the Generation Z demographic, which Ally believes will make up a significant portion of future customers who will be drawn to the brand.
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