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Citi JoyTM+ BuzzFeed Ball Pit Proposal

Entered in Branded Content


2017 marked the launch of a bold, new Citi brandcampaign challenging "how a bank can make you feel." In order to establish Citi as more than a bank for financial transactions to 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.

Strategy and Execution

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 a bit of 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.

What could make this event even more special? A proposal. Citi coordinated with one woman, Mary Beth, who wanted to propose to her girlfriend, Jessann, in the most incredible way. Mary Beth took Jessann to Times Square for a chance to experience the JOYTM and little did she know; her prize would lead to a lifetime of joy.

Jessann jumped into the ball pit and received a golden ticket which she traded in for a note from Mary Beth that ended with "Will you marry me?". She then turned around to see Mary Beth down on one knee with a beautiful ring. Not only was she surprised, but she also said yes! The internet loved it. Among the many positive comments, users responded with: "Nice of Citi to do this for them" and "This is BEAUTIFUL! Got me in tears over here! How cute! Congrats to those girls, looks like a lifetime of #joy is ahead of them! #citibankus #loveislove"

To spread the love 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 featured the engagement as well as light-hearted challenges to engage both consumers on the ground and those watching via social.

Citi provided an unforgettable moment for the couple, brightened the day for all who attended as well as those who watched and made a powerful statement on a brand's opportunity to create positivity today.


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 lift on recommendation.

In addition, the numbers for the BuzzFeed JOYTM proposal video speak for themselves:

4,210,227 Total Views

3,468,702 Earned Views

41.4% Video View Through Rate – almost doubling a 26.7% Buzzfeed co-branded benchmark

59,669 Total Reactions

3,079 Total Comments

6,206 Total Shares

1.9% Engagement Rate – more than three times the Buzzfeed benchmark of 0.4%

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 Citi JoyTM+ BuzzFeed Ball Pit Proposal

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Citi, BuzzFeed


Entry Credits