Saint Elmo's Experiential has built an AR filter for the US campaign "Varo. A bank for all of us" an AR filter with a political message. The campaign, developed by Serviceplan Group's House of Communication New York for US bank Varo, promotes an accessible and inclusive financial system for all Americans. Saint Elmo's Experiential AR filter provides an interactive way to participate in the campaign: Anyone who wants can put their face on the twenty-dollar bill and take a stand for inclusion and diversity.
Berlin, 15 March 2021. Serviceplan agency subsidiary Saint Elmo's Experiential, led by XR expert Kevin Prösel, developed the interactive component of the campaign "Varo. A Bank for all of us." The AR filter for Instagram visualizes and brings to life the inclusive idea of the campaign and the Varo slogan "It's your money". The filter transfers the American twenty-dollar bill into augmented reality and gives everyone the opportunity to place their face on it and share the image with the world.
The Varo campaign, conceived in September 2020, is set in the context of the political debate over the design of U.S. currency. This has been criticized for not reflecting American history and diversity. Specifically, the debate is about the image of African American and abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the front of the $20 bill. It was intended to replace the portrait of seventh U.S. President Andrew Jackson, who is considered an oppressor of Native North Americans. The project, which was halted by the Trump administration, is back on the political agenda under President Biden.
With its goal of providing easy access to the financial system for all Americans, regardless of gender, skin color, income and social status, Varo Bank is striking a chord with the times. The customizable $20 bill as the motif of the new campaign makes a clear statement for diversity and inclusion.
Saint Elmo's Experiential has turned this statement into an interactive augmented reality experience. "We took the campaign idea and translated it into an AR filter," says Kevin Proesel, CEO of Saint Elmo's Experiential. "This allows people to really make the dollar bill 'their money' and thus take a stand for diversity. That's why we made a conscious decision to go realistic and keep the moiré look of the bill virtual, which we did brilliantly thanks to the excellent work of our team in the Serviceplan network and our technology partners. The Varo campaign is a perfect example of how augmented reality can usefully complement and enhance classic campaign elements."
Varo's "It's your money" IG Story Filter was developed using Facebook's powerful Spark AR platform, which enables the creation of responsive AR experiences for Instagram. The filter tracks the user's face and integrates it into a virtual $20 bill via real-time filter rendering. This mimics the sophisticated engraving technique of the US currency. The result is a personalized digital banknote with a realistic look that users can save to their mobile devices and share with the network community.
The campaign for Varo Bank has been developed under the leadership of Serviceplan Group New York by an international team of experts across all continents and time zones. After kicking off at the Super Bowl on February 7, 2021, the integrated campaign will play out across TV, OOH, radio and digital throughout the United States.
Commenting on the collaboration with Saint Elmo's Experiential, Stefan Schütte, Managing Partner of Serviceplan Group New York, said, "I am proud to have created groundbreaking campaign extensions for the U.S. market with Kevin Prösel and his German experts in the group."