In one hundred years, all diseases will disappear and everyone will live to be hundred, an 8-year old girl wrote in her letter before she stored it in the Zagrebačka banka Time Vault. She believes she will see the day when the Time Vault will reopen in 2114, because by then they will have invented a cure for longevity.

This is just one of thousands of stories sent to Zagrebačka banka and which are today kept under the Ban Jelačić Square in Zagreb, stored according to the highest banking standards. Zagrebačka banka decided to build the underground, 48 square metre time vault on the occasion of the campaign it launched for its 100th anniversary, planning to store intangible life values in it.

The news that one of the oldest and largest Croatian financial institutions is building a time capsule under the capital’s main city square, inviting people to store their emotions for the next 100 years, quickly spread through the country, and beyond. Even the creativity editor of the American Advertising Age, Ann-Christine Diaz, mentioned it in her article. Last year, the Zagrebačka banka Time Vault was a popular conversation topic in Croatia, opening a new type of interaction between people and the Bank institution.

This year, the same campaign marked the Days of Communication in Rovinj, winning the Grand Prix, as well as the award for the best overall campaign in the creative competition IdejaX. It also won the Effie award for marketing effectiveness and the MIXX Award in the category of digital campaigns, which have the aim of direct user interaction and generating of a base of potential customers. The Bank also won the award of the Croatian Public Relations Association – Grand PRix for public relations in the business sector for large companies.

“For the Bank, this has been more than just a campaign – this is a project that will basically last for the next 100 years,” said Aleksandra Cvetković, Director of Sales and Marketing for individual clients of Zagrebačka banka, who has been working for the Hungarian UniCredit since last October.

Zagrebačka banka did not want to miss the opportunity to celebrate its 100th anniversary, but the circumstances were not favourable because of the shaken public confidence and the impression of weaker safety and protection – which are all consequences of the economic crisis. Therefore, the biggest challenge of the campaign was to use the anniversary as a turning point and the base for rebuilding trust.

“In such a not-so-favourable context, Zagrebačka banka wanted to remind its existing and potential customers that it has always been and will continue to be the best guardian of our values,” said Davor Bruketa, creative director of the agency Bruketa & Žinić OM which created the campaign, explaining the advertiser’s brief. “Why should they trust us? Because Zagrebačka banka has already proven itself; in one hundred years it survived all challenges, wars, political systems and economic crises, which is a great success in the Croatian socio-economic circumstances,” said Bruketa.

The agency team realised that this was the perfect moment for the Bank to show that it will remain reliable and safe, even in one hundred years. With memories of the past, but also promises for the future, the campaign wanted to tell a story about success, security and trust. According to Marina Dijaković, director of Identity and Communications of Zagrebačka banka, with this campaign they wanted to regain the image of a reliable safeguard of the future, since the public believes that banks in general do not care about the future of their clients.

In order to show in real life that they intend to be here for the next one hundred years, Zagrebačka banka opened the Time Vault – a time capsule in which all Croatian citizens will be able to safeguard something for the future, free of charge, and the Bank will deliver the stored content to the contract holder in exactly one hundred years.

The first thing you notice when you enter the branch “Gradska štedionica” (The City Savings Bank) on Ban Jelačić Square is a large digital clock counting down the time until 2114, and under it the old-fashioned key to the vault that is properly ‘buried’ like every true time capsule. The Time Vault is located two levels underground, but like all other bank vaults, it is not easy to get into. It is protected by security and fire doors with electronic and mechanical protection and a double lock. It has video surveillance, and earthquake, water and fire alarms. In one hundred years everything has to look exactly like it does today, when the objects will be handed over to the heirs, says Dijaković. The only thing she regrets is that she will not be here to see their reactions.

The items in the Vault could be handed over in person in the Bank branches, sent by mail or uploaded digitally via the microsite vremenskitrezor.hr, the focal place of the campaign developed by the agency Degordian. Thousands of received items made one big online gallery whose content was very popular and shared on social networks. During the campaign, nearly 100,000 visitors visited the site and on average, they spent about two minutes on it.

The agency MediaCom, in charge of online ads, says they focused on bringing visitors to the site. Once they visited the site, they were retargeted with new ads. During the later stages of the campaign, they microsegmented the target audience and communicated what was relevant to individual small groups. This way, for example, animal lovers saw photos of pets that others have stored in the Vault.

The story about the Vault actually started in February 2014, when Zagrebačka banka invited its current and retired employees to submit items, information and documents connected to the Bank’s history, for the opening of the renovated “Gradska štedionica”. The gathered material was published in Zaba’s digital time machine which was later also published on the Bank’s internet site.

Around one hundred former and current employees participated in the creation of Zaba’s time machine; they shared old photos, anecdotes, savings books, cover paper from notebooks and numerous other mementos. Also included were numerous socially relevant projects that the Bank supported during its long history. The recollection of those projects was in fact the basis for the first part of the campaign.

Daniela Roguljić Novak, a Zagrebačka banka board member, says that the idea was to show the public, their clients and their families what their investments in the last century had financed, because many of those projects wouldn’t have been possible without the necessary funding. It is interesting, says Roguljić Novak, how you pass by certain buildings and institutions, or you drive along the road, and you probably do not think about how they were created, what was necessary to make that happen, or how much they make our lives better and easier.

Just as a song by the Croatian songwriter icon Arsen Dedić from the late sixties which is used in the campaign and in the commercial says, “…everything you know about me, is actually so little…,” so all the channels of communication used old photographs and footage to introduce the public to the Bank’s role and past activities. Zagreb electric tram from 1916, Zagreb airport from 1959, and the new one currently being built, the Lisinski concert hall from 1973, the first housing loan in 1978, the Istrian Y highway, St Peter’s Hospital Maternity Ward, the windmills next to Split – all those projects had a great impact on the community, and all were financed primarily by the citizens who trusted Zagrebačka banka with their savings.

The first phase of the campaign was illustrated by the words of the former President of the Board of Zagrebačka banka, Franjo Luković. At the anniversary ceremony he said that the Bank was founded 100 years ago with an idea that is still an integral part of its operations: to use its capital and responsible financing in ways that guarantee the saver’s deposits, not to act at the expense of the budget, to encourage all classes of society to have savings and to use the acquired money to support development.

What would you like to leave behind for a 100 years? That was the question that appeared in all the ads and especially TV commercials with famous people, artists, scientists and athletes who talked about the things they would leave, motivating the public to store something valuable for future generations. The actor Špiro Guberina was especially popular with his double from the iconic TV show Velo Misto, an episode of which Guberina decided to store in the Vault.

As the Vault started to fill up, it became the generator of content for the continuation of the campaign. The stories from the Vault were shared on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn, and their real owners became the protagonists of new advertisements. There was a TV commercial with a young couple that left a copy of the song they fell in love to, the organic farmer Marica Jug who left recipes for her delicious juices and jams, and the girl from the beginning of the story with her cure for longevity.

People mostly stored photographs of important moments, items which will be rare in a hundred years, inherited items or books, and countless emotional stories. For example, one man left a photo of his brother who had given him a kidney, thus saving his life. Aco Petrović, the brother of Croatia’s best basketball player Dražen Petrović, left the top part of his brother’s jersey and his medal – from the 1992 Olympic Games, and there were other items of similar national value. Ćiro Blažević, the coach of the World Cup bronze winning national football team, left his iconic white scarf. “I leave this scarf to my great-grandchildren as a memory of a time when their great-grandfather was alive,” said Ćiro. Other athletes left their medals, for example Zoran Primorac, Gordan Kožulj and Ana Sršen.

One Dalmatian klapa even recorded and stored a song performed especially for “those of you who are ahead of us.” Other famous Croatian bands also recognised the public interest regarding the Vault, so they joined the campaign. Croatia osiguranje (Croatia insurance) left an old plaque, part of many Croatian houses, Karlovačko pivo stored its beer recipe, Borovo their shoes, Večernji list their jubilee issue marking their 55-year anniversary. The blogger from the website Netokracija, Tena Šojer wrote: “Dear great-grandson, I am leaving you a few (technological) items that fascinated me, funny little relics that your great-grandmother once considered top technology, and which you will find as innovative as the wheel. But maybe your generation will really have the flying cars we always wanted, and then the wheel will be something strange and new.”

Aleksandra Cvetković says that projects of this size are always created for the social elite, and that we, the “ordinary” people have never had an opportunity like this. The Bank wanted to connect itself as a brand through a concrete action and to do so through all the available channels that people today use for communication. So, for example, one of the most popular photos from the Time Vault on Facebook was an old photo of the iconic musicians Toma Bebić and Mišo Kovač with the text: “The photograph shows two men in their prime, from the time when hair was thick, smiles were wide, and footwear was made locally. Two bards who are completely different, yet so much alike. At that time, the two of them sang, and people sang as well. We would be lucky if we looked at this photo in one hundred years and started singing! Again!”

Despite her long years working in communications, Marina Dijaković was surprised by the amount of positive responses from the public to the opportunity to connect their important memories with one institution. Everyone was moved by clients’ and partners’ reactions after receiving their birthday greetings, such as this one: “Sincere congratulations to my dear Zaba and all of its employees for the first 100 years of good ideas which started from 1914 and will remain in the future.”

“Success is the combination of the correct amount of emotions, creativity and collaboration of all the Bank’s departments,“ said Daniela Roguljić Novak in an interview for the Media Marketing site. The involvement of the Bank itself was unusually strong, because almost everyone was included in the project – from Management to the Identity and Communications department comprised of Brand Management, Media Relations, Internal Communications and Web, then Market Communications, Digital Operations, Sale and Marketing for Individual Clients, Legal Affairs, IT, Organisation and Human Resources, all the way to the bank clerks.

For example, alongside monitoring the activities of the external campaign, the Bank team came up with a series of additional internal activities, especially for the anniversary campaign called “Our first 100 years”. Alongside the aforementioned Zaba time machine created by 150 employees and retired employees with their items from the past, they organised workshops, held competitions, made videos with employees and recorded their stories for the Vault, and published a limited edition of the internal magazine Bank clerk with the theme “Reaching 100”.

Through a series of workshops, the employees created an Employee book for their colleagues in 2114, with messages for the future. As many as 300 teams filled up over 350 pages of the Book with photographs and messages such as this one: “Today I worked with Word, Excel, Sas, Oracle, Host…which one of them do you recognise?” Or “Dear bank clerks from the future, for a successful casserole in 2114 you need: 300g of optimism, 200g of responsibility, 450g of creativity, 300g of patience. Cook in a 100% proactive atmosphere, with constant team work and a spoonful of happiness!” Segments of the book will accompany the employees throughout 2015, because they have been included in the official journals. In that way, all Zagrebačka banka employees left an individual mark in the Time Vault.

“Saying that the challenge of the campaign was working in real time, practically 24 hours a day is not big news today, but part of the success of this campaign lies in dealing with those challenges through constructive use of all the available digital channels. Specifically, the monitoring of consumer behaviour on digital platforms and insights that came out of that influenced numerous tactical moves during the campaign,” said Bruketa. For example, when they noticed that people did not believe that the storage is free, they adjusted the messages.

On the other hand, Degoridan continuously optimised the microsite, and the Bank’s community managers tested the effectiveness of individual messages. They also reacted to some current events, for example by temporarily suspending the campaign after the great floods in the Balkan area and by donating the campaign funds for the rebuilding of the area, after which numerous other companies reacted as well.

“The Time Vault campaign was an ideal chance to feel the pulse of the market through digital platforms, to gain insight into our clients’ thoughts, and all that on the foundation of a nice and positive story. We are also glad that Facebook was one of the most effective channels of market communication,” said Nikolina Petran, Digital Operations Director for Zagrebačka banka.

When all of this is translated into numbers, the results are pretty impressive. After the campaign, over 50% of the public connected Zagrebačka banka with safety and trust. The percentage points connected to safety and trust have, unlike those of the competitors, grown for the first time after seven years of stagnating and falling. While submitting the items to the Vault, two thirds of people allowed the Bank to record their national identification numbers and contact information. 22% of people who were not Zagrebačka banka’s clients expressed the desire to start doing business with the Bank, and 30% of existing clients expressed the desire to expand their services.

Today the Time Vault holds around six thousand items, 40% of which are not owned by the Bank, and every item carries with it a piece of personal history. There are also several big nationally important moments. The Vault was officially locked on September 8, 2014. However, the following day one newspaper came out with the heading – “Open the Vault, we forgot Čilić!” That evening the Croatian tennis player Marin Čilić won the US Open, and upon returning to Zagreb, he stored his winning racket in the Time Vault, which opened its doors for this exception. However, some did not make it to the Vault before it closed, so they built their own – for example, Davorin Škoflek from Osijek who built a rakia vault in Kneževi Vinogradi (rakia is an extremely strong alcoholic drink popular in Croatia). The vault is different, but the message is the same – cheers for at least 100 years!

 

This text was originally published in the print edition of Media Marketing magazine.

 

Zagrebačka banka – UniCredit Group/ Aleksandra Cvetković (Sales and Marketing Director), Marina Dijaković (Corporate Communications Director), Nikolina Petran (Head of Digital Unit), Sandra Cvetko (Lead Corporate Communications Specialist), Natalija Mikulić Smiljanić (Lead Corporate Communications Specialist), Ivanka Šaravanja (Senior Corporate Communications Specialist), Iva Barbarić (Lead Marketing Specialist), Igor Kosović (Head of Marketing), Vanja Pleša (Digital Specialist), Krešimir Katić (Digital Specialist), Daniela Roguljić Novak (Member of the Management Board for Retail)

Bruketa&Žinić OM / Davor Bruketa, Dragan Lakićević, Siniša Waldinger, Nikola Žinić (Creative Directors), Roberta Kranjec (Account Director), Ivan Čepelak, Lana Mujičić (Copywriters), Valentina Bugarin (Account Executive), Radovan Radičević (DTP), Jelena Mihelčić (author of the article)

Martina Marinić (Art Director)
Saša Krivak (DTP)

Pakt media (TV Production)
Gregor Vesel (Director)

Degordian (Digital Agency)

Mediacom (Media Agency)

 

 

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