- Chase and NowThis are rolling out a new content channel focused on personal finance. NowThis Money will be the result of collaboration between the two companies’ marketing teams. It’s the latest example of marketers treading into territory once owned by media firms, and vice versa.
Lots of media companies are making content specifically for paying advertisers. And lots of advertisers are making more of their own content. NowThis and Chase are trying to find out whether the combination of the two yields something bigger.
The two companies on Thursday are rolling out NowThis Money, a new digital media brand aimed at helping millennials navigate personal-finance questions. NowThis and Chase describe the effort as a partnership through which both companies will create content.
It’s the latest evolution of a trend in the ad business, as marketers look for ways to reach ad-avoidant consumers who are glued to their mobile devices. While marketers frequently sponsor sections of websites or hire web publishers’ in-house teams to create editorial content on their behalf, this aspires to take things to another level, Ben Lerer, the CEO of NowThis’ parent company, Group Nine, told Business Insider.
Over the past four years, Chase has built out a 10-person newsroom and has been churning out mostly text content tied to financial tips for consumers, like advice on when to buy a house.
NowThis has built out a vibrant social video distribution network, including over 11.6 million Facebook followers and several sub-brands, including NowThis Politics.
NowThis had noticed a budding interest among its users in financial information. And in talking with Chase, the two firms saw a fit to collaborate. “People in this generation are thinking about careers in totally different ways, and they see things like higher education and debt differently,” Lerer said. And when it comes to having reverence for financial institutions like Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, he said, “they don’t have that ingrained.”
To remedy that, NowThis is helping Chase translate its existing editorial content into social-media-ready quick videos, such as 30-second snippets on how to be a cost-conscious wedding guest and when the cheapest days are to travel.
This initiative meshes well with a broader JPMorgan Chase strategy to court millennials. The banking giant has earmarked a significant amount of spending toward getting this generation signed up for checking accounts, for example, by pushing mobile banking and using relatable celebrities.
To be sure, Chase and NowThis are entering a crowded arena. Not only are high-profile startups like Cheddar going after a business-interested millennial audience, but a slew of personal-finance-centric digital publications have recently joined the party, including Dow Jones’ Moneyish, Time Inc.’s Coinage, and the Facebook-born Stackin.
NowThis Money starts with 10 to 15 clips, and the plan will be to churn out up to 150 videos a month that will be distributed on both NowThis and Chase’s social channels, said Brian Becker, who leads Chase’s newsroom.
“We’ve kind of moved away from just sponsoring a channel and letting it go,” he said. “We’re extremely involved in the production.” In fact, Becker said, while Chase is still working with ad agencies, this sort of project replaces the role of the bank’s traditional creative ad shop.
Whether the creative in this case breaks through is an open question. The short NowThis Money videos don’t feature much in the way of overt selling but instead carry a subtle Chase logo in the upper part of the video screen.
“It’s a big challenge, and you have to be sensitive,” Becker said. “You probably need to see a few of these videos to have an impact.”
The bigger impact for NowThis Money could be on the digital ad business. If the venture proves successful, expect more marketers to adopt such a model.
“We think this could be a template for how to think about media companies’ relationship with brands,” Lerer said. “The idea here is that we’re both going to push each other.”