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How HelloFCB+ and Fuelcontent collaborated to help Ninety One create financial advertising for a world of change

  • Change Changes Financial Advertising
  • Ninety One is one of those rare companies that actually do what it says on the box - Investing for a World of Change. And their brand new TVC (aptly titled “Change Changes”) is more than just a testament to this philosophy. But without embracing change, and being willing to challenge traditional ways of working, the ad would most likely never have seen the light of the day.

    Since awarding Cape Town’s HelloFCB+ the account in 2012, the two businesses have navigated their fair share of change. Not only did HelloFCB+ help rebrand and reposition Ninety One when it changed its name from Investec Asset Management, but their own ethos of being the ‘Human Connections’ agency, has made them a key communication partner to a business that has to navigate the ever-evolving post-pandemic global financial landscape.

    Using the evolution of home entertainment as an analogy for change, the new brand ad takes the viewer on a seamless journey through a 100 years of technology. “It’s in our nature to be adverse to change. This idea intends to alleviate that fear by highlighting the opportunity that change offers you when you’re partnered with the right team,” says Mike Barnwell, CCO.

    The commercial opens on an early twentieth-century radio; the announcer states simply and clearly, “Change Changes” and so begins the nostalgic journey that ultimately passes present-day smartphones and cleverly ends with a nod to the futuristic volumetric displays that are currently being researched and developed (think holograms, but more layered and sophisticated). But with all the technology set aside, what really makes the ad visually arresting and unique for the category, is the way the journey through time and change is achieved.

    “The whole treatment of the ad really came together when we asked, how did our view of the world change because of these devices? This sparked the idea of not only seeing the world around the devices change, but at the same time also seeing a changing world through the point of view of the devices, transitioning seamlessly from one era to the next,” says Gerhard Pretorius, the director of the commercial and Head of Concept at Fuelcontent.

    The end result is deceptively simple. Authentically portraying each era hinged on the research, preparation, and close collaboration between each and every department. From era-appropriate vintage lenses; antique radios and TVs; the set dressing and art direction; wardrobe and styling; and all the way to sound design. “We sourced and attempted to do everything we could practically and in-camera. And the only way we could achieve this is with the collaboration of the agency and full trust and support of the client,” adds Pretorius.

    The story of the commercial’s making has as much to do with change as the piece itself. Instead of following a very traditional concept-to-execution approach, HelloFCB+ and Fuelcontent collaborated from the onset of the campaign process. The visual ideas born from this collaboration laid the groundwork for the final visual technique and made it possible for everyone to share in the creative vision of the piece.

    Perhaps most significantly, it fostered a connection of trust between creative and client. “It’s through trust that boundaries are pushed further, that the creative shines brighter, and you change things for the better,” adds Barnwell.

    “And just like the year we’re named after, 2020 and 2021 have seen unbelievable change. But change is in our blood. We understand it and tackle it head-on every day in order to invest for better outcomes for our clients. And changing traditional ways of working between agency, client and production to be more efficient and collaborative is a great example of how embracing change can bring about positive results,” says Kotie Basson, Head of Marketing, Africa, for Ninety One.

    Nahana Communications Group
    Nahana Communications Group is a collective of leading specialist agencies that provide solutions across the marketing ecosystem, engaging with clients early, intelligently and collaboratively, to tackle the business problem, not just the creative task.

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