Best Use of Technology at ICEAWARDS18

Case Studies
14.08.2018 12:20

The People’s Money is an ambitious national collaboration, inviting the people of Scotland to help design the next generation of banknotes for the Royal Bank of Scotland.

best use of technology

The Establishment

Royal Bank of Scotland

The Peoples Money - Launch of the Royal Bank of Scotland
£10 note into space

Objectives The target audience for this project is primarily the people of Scotland, who use these notes every day to go about their business. A key aspect of the brief was that people feel a connection to the notes beyond their monetary value. Furthermore, Royal Bank of Scotland was sensitive to the fact that currency is a design artefact which reflects a nation’s culture.

Reflected by the name of the project, The People’s Money was to be citizen-centric through-and-through. The notes had to reflect a post referendum Scotland in a positive and authentic way, dismantling and defying old misconceptions about power and forming a new vision of Scottish culture. These banknotes were to be by Scottish people, for Scottish people the goal being to visualise their voice. It was therefore requested that the project be a collaboration vast in scale. Royal Bank of Scotland involved not just a varied breadth of Scottish creatives but also the public, cementing their relationship with the note and making it more than money.

Further key objectives were to improve public sentiment towards the bank and drive engagement across the bank’s digital and social media channels, as well as driving media coverage outside of business pages and engage with consumer and features audience.

Royal Bank of Scotland also had to emphasise the advancements of banknote production and the shift from paper to polymer in a positive way and create a launch with a clear, community focus spotlighting the work of Mary Somerville – the face of the new note.

Technology and the Event Being led by customer engagement, the first step for Royal Bank of Scotland was listening: face-to-face in cities, online with rural communities and nationally with a public survey. More than a thousand people from all over Scotland took part in engagement exercises. 

The campaign project had to help offer insight into how best to illustrate the advances the new generation of banknotes make in terms of safety, security and longevity. 

Alongside traditional security techniques such as intaglio engraving, extra small print and fine line pattern work, the note incorporated a range of new technology. This included the Safeguard polymer substrate with its distinctive secure window, optically variable and iridescent inks and a number of cutting-edge machine readable devices.

Following from the £5 note, launched in 2016, which featured the image of Scottish poet Nan Shepherd which was again, chosen with the aid of the public, the late Scottish scientist Mary Somerville was chosen as the face of the £10 note. The first woman to be accepted into the Royal Astronomical Society, her work led to the discovery of Neptune and in her honour, a crater in the moon is named after her.

With this in mind and emphasising the modern materials and robustness of the polymer note series, Royal Bank of Scotland launched a £10 note into space with the help of schoolchildren from Blairgowrie. The schools used had previously taken part in Moneysense, a Royal Bank of Scotland programme designed to educate young people on cash and savings. 

In collaboration with the digital unit and external agency, SentintoSpace, the launch was filmed and turned into an integrated package, being used for broadcast and digital external media, as well as their own internal communications platforms.

This activity coincided with a series of lectures on the life of Mary Somerville from the leads of Somerville College in Oxford. This piece of university activity and content afforded the Scottish primary schools involved in the launch the opportunity to later host projects on space and celebrate in the work of a comparatively unknown Scottish scientist. 

Framed early edition notes were also given to each of the children involved as a keepsake of the day. 

Delivered within eight weeks from strategy to execution, this was a fast paced media stunt which had additional pressure added by the reliance on good weather and commitment to the Bank of England that the note would enter circulation on 4th October 2017.

Challenges The challenge for the team was to distil that mass citizen voice into clear guiding principles for the note content ensuring the vision of the people remained central throughout. 

Additionally, Royal Bank of Scotland faced a further challenge with the launch of its new £10 note. The Bank of England, Clydesdale and Bank of Scotland were all issuing their new notes too. Achieving cut-through in such a crowded space – on a tight budget and timescale – was a challenge. 

Sending a Scottish banknote into space was a first for any Scottish note issuing bank – and an untested concept for the note manufacturer. The next challenge was to make sure the launch and supporting activity reflected the key ambitions of the bank - to create engagement, involve Scottish communities, spotlight an important figure in Scotland’s history and to showcase the shift towards polymer and the positive attributes the use of such material creates.

Results Over the course of 24 hours, post launch, Royal Bank of Scotland achieved broadcast coverage across BBC Radio 4, BBC World Service BBC Radio Scotland BBC Three, STV News and Planet Radio.

Some non-traditional digital outlets carried the story. This included Criticism News, Cetus and US based tech title, Tea Cake. Others, including The Sun, carried the video online. 

In total, the release was picked up by more than 20 different print and online titles with a total circulation of over 6m within 48 hours of issue. Importantly, the spread featured international, national and regional media. It also featured in non traditional banking media platforms including TES Scotland and the Big Issue. 

From 4th to 15th October 2017, the Sent into Space video, hosted on Royal Bank of Scotland’s website secured almost 2000 views (general average between 300 – 400) within 48 hours of launch. Engagement rate was 2.75%, which was more than double the norm. 

During the same period, the social content reached almost 27k users on Facebook, 2.5 times higher than the brand average. 

Additionally, the bank’s tradition of supporting the Scottish Government’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) aims could be reflected by this activity, allowing the public, and the schoolchildren, to see science in action.

Feedback was fantastic as showing how Royal Bank of Scotland involved the schools and creating a school of budding astronauts and scientists and they enjoyed celebrating the success of Mary Somerville.

The Judges Comments As Mary Somerville the renowned Scottish astronomer was featured on the new £10 note, the launch event harnessed the novel idea of sending the new bank note into space as a way of engaging children at the launch event at a primary school. They successfully spread the story from the event via video and social media to reach beyond the press. A good example of integrating technology and new communication channels at an event.

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