Modern Love Meets Personal Debt in This Charming Spot From Credit Karma

Free finance company turns to GS&P

The campaign looks to expand awareness of the popular service. Credit Karma
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There are few life events more significant than having a child and buying your first home.

Getting there, however, can be a little difficult, especially for young Americans. If you need to read something scary this Halloween, just pick up any recent study on the student debt default bubble.

Since its founding in 2007, Credit Karma has offered free credit scores, reports and insights to help consumers navigate the minefield of personal finance. But the company wants everyone to know it offers much more—a message conveyed in a new campaign called “First Steps” that launched this week.

The minute-long tale of a young couple’s all-too-familiar struggles marks the first collaboration between Credit Karma and hometown agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners of San Francisco.

The ad, directed by Rupert Sanders of Ghost in the Shell, also features the voiceover talents of actor Justin Theroux.

Credit Karma has moved its brand forward in recent years with the help of several quirky, youth-friendly campaigns produced by its in-house team.

This time, however, the company’s vp of brand, creative and communications Dana Marineau said, “When it came to evolving the brand, we went to the best in the business, Margaret [Johnson] and Leslie [Barrett] of Goodby.”

The assignment did not include a formal review, and GS&P collaborated with the in-house team on brand positioning efforts. Marineau also noted that Credit Karma has an existing connection to the agency: Its internal group creative director, Rus Chao, worked there from 2005 to 2014.

As you know, Americans in general struggle with financial literacy and debt,” Marineau said. “We want to break down those barriers and make it more digestible, relatable and understandable” through stories like the one in the ad.

At the same time, she said, her company plans to use this campaign and future efforts to raise awareness of the fact that its services can help consumers with everything from “getting a personal loan to a new mortgage or a new credit card.”

“What I love about this particular story is that they have setbacks, as we all do,” Marineau told Adweek, summing up the concept behind the ad as “small is big” in that seemingly minor steps can lead to major milestones for one family.

While Credit Karma’s in-house team will continue to handle a majority of its marketing efforts, Marineau said, GS&P will also regularly assist on a project-by-project basis across broadcast, digital and social efforts.


Agency: Goodby Silverstein & Partners
Client: Credit Karma
Campaign: “First Steps”

Chief Marketing Officer: Greg Lull
VP of Brand, Creative and Communicaitons: Dana Marineau
Group Creative Director: Rus Chao
Senior Director of Creative Strategy: Vicki McRae
Creative Strategist: Kaitlyn Tierney
Director of Brand: Mary FlorCruz
Senior Brand Strategist: Lyndsay De Carolis
Director of Offline Marketing: Adam Faughnan

Co-Chairmen: Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein
Chief Creative Officer: Margaret Johnson
Executive Creative Director: David Suarez & Danny Gonzalez
Associate Creative Director: Joshua Hacohen & Dan Triechel
Director of Broadcast Production: Tod Puckett
Executive Producer: Leila Gage
Business Lead: Leslie Barrett
Account Director: Lee Wilson
Account Manager: Tony Billmeyer
Director of Brand Strategy: Bonnie Wan
Strategy Director: Kelly Evans-Pfeifer
Senior Brand Strategist: Lucas Goodbody
Junior Brand Strategist: Joe Krakoff
Broadcast Affairs Director: Judy Ybarra
Communication Strategy Director: Caitlin Neelon
Communication Strategist: Catherine Kim

Production Company: MJZ
Director: Rupert Sanders
Director of Photography: Jess Hall
Executive Producer: Kate Leahy
Producer: Adriana Cebada Mora

Editing Company: Work Editorial LA
Editor: Neil Smith (First Steps & Karaoke)
Editor: Stewart Reeves (Reunion & Chess)
Executive Producer: Marlo Baird
Producer: Brandee Probasco

VFX Company: The Mill
VFX Supervisor/Creative Director: John Shirley
Colorist: Adam Scott
2D Artists: Lisa Ryan, Matthew Dobrez and Dustin Padgett
3D Artist: Bill Lu
Executive Producer: Anastasia Von Rahl
VFX Producer: Valentina Cokonis
Telecine Producåer: Liza Kerlin

Music Company: Butter Music + Sound
Composer: Aaron Kotler
Executive Producer: Annick Mayer
Producer: Stone Irr
Mix: Lime Studios
Executive Producer: Susie Boyajan
Producer: Kayla Phungglan
Audio Mixer: Sam Casas

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.
Publish date: October 26, 2018 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT