VMLY&R: Santander’s Bank Ela

Image of a woman and Santander's Ela logo

VMLY&R: Santander’s Bank Ela

The first Women’s Day celebration in the form of a credit programme

Santander Bank is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, and asked VMLY&R for a campaign in honour of Women’s Day. But the agency’s research showed that women didn’t want a campaign at all. What they wanted was greater opportunities, more jobs, equal payment and respect in and out of the workplace.

So, instead of ads, VMLY&R took the entire $250 million budget and created a financial product: a new line of credit for microentrepreneurs – exclusively for women. VMLY&R assessed Santander’s clients’ data and that of millions of potential clients, focusing on the 25% of Brazilian women earning less than US$85 a month, cross-referencing global data on gender (women) and location (low-income areas). From the insights gained, the target group were sent simple text messages, reinforced by communications within Santander’s branches.

The initiative also featured in a series of debates streamed live on social media, with the CEOs from some of Brazil’s biggest ecommerce businesses and banks taking part. The results were impressive: all available funds were lent within a week; there was widespread media coverage; and the World Bank was so impressed, it asked to become a partner in the project for the following year.

100,000 women joined Santander Ela on the launch date and 44% of borrowers from the bank were women after the campaign.