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Special Project

Special Project
From the 10th Annual Shorty Awards

The Citi JOYTM Ball Pit: BuzzFeed Live Instagram Stories

Finalist in Instagram Story

About this entry

2017 marked the launch of a bold, new Citi brandcampaign challenging "how a bank can make you feel." In order to establish Citi as not only a bank for financial transactions but as a brand that is relevant to people's everyday life moments, big and small, we activated unexpected on- and off-line experiences to surprise & delight consumers. The goal was to create broad mainstream awareness and consideration of our new campaign, and also generate excitement and conversation around our brand, especially in social, with the goal of driving favorability and consideration.

Using a familiar everyday activity like ATM transactions, Citi flipped the experience from something functional to something fun, with one that generated random gifts such as concert tickets, airline miles and gift cards.

Why does this entry deserve to win?

When people generally think about banks or financial institutes, they aren't necessarily jumping for joy. Strategically this presents a huge opportunity for Citi to "flip the feels" - make people feel good and optimistic about their future. Understanding the difference between things people HAVE to do every day versus what they LOVE to do, Citi decided to present a series of out-of-the-blue experiences (coincidentally Citi's brand color) to deliver a dose of fun to NYC consumers and customers. Because who wouldn't want to relive the childhood glee during a work day?

Enter ball pit! For one day only, in the midst of the crowded, bustle of Times Square, we invited individuals the opportunity to jump, fall, play, kick through a giant adult ball pit. Once in, they were encouraged to take a turn at the JOYTM. Through a simple tap of the screen, participants received a ticket to redeem on site for gifts like concert tickets, airline miles and gift cards. Everyone was a winner and the smiles, especially from those with the special GOLD tickets, were contagious.

To expand our reach beyond Times Square, Citi partnered with BuzzFeed to create content live at the event. Citi was the first financial brand to ever takeover BuzzFeed's organic Instagram Story and was an early adopter to a medium that could spread this joy from New Yorkers to millions of BuzzFeed fans. Hosted by a BuzzFeed influencer, the 15- part story also featured light-hearted challenges to engage both consumers on the ground and those watching via social. Together, Citi and BuzzFeed broadcasted this feeling of joy throughout the day, across the social audience with sequential, playful on-location vignettes.

Delivering on the goal to brightening an otherwise typical New York City work day for many people, not only did Citi garner high numbers on total views and impressions, but also gained substantial retention rates.


Citi's primary objective for their brand campaign was to lift brand awareness and consideration. The results were significantly joyful with +37% points lift in consideration and +11% points lifts on recommendation.

In addition, the numbers on the Story spoke for itself:

1,723,288 Total Views

1,853,108 Total Impressions

214,869 Unique Viewers

92.9% View Rate

38.4% Retention Rate

All this affirms Citi's path to being more than just a bank to a brand that helps customers "welcome what's next" with optimism and joy.


Video for The Citi JOYTM Ball Pit: BuzzFeed Live Instagram Stories

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Citi, OneTeam, BuzzFeed


Entry Credits