What the brand needed

In the digital age, cash is no longer king. As tech revolutionises how we interact with money, digital innovations are making banking cheaper, safer, and more accessible. But for many South Africans, the world of cashless payments is unfamiliar territory, and they’re stuck dealing with the disadvantages of physical money in a world that’s leaving them behind.

That’s where PayShap comes in. PayShap is a BankservAfrica project that was borne from the South African Reserve Bank’s goal to prepare citizens for a less cash-dependent future. Intended to be offered by all banks in South Africa, it’s a revolutionary step towards financial inclusion and introduces Mzansi to a new era of instant interbank payments.

This banking-industry-led rapid payments programme has an important focus: to humanise digital payments for all South Africans. But in a nation that’s heavily cash dependent, where do you start?

We needed to develop a digital, social, and paid media strategy to launch a first-of-its-kind offering and way of transacting to a broad market, from digitally savvy students to gogos in rural areas. Our job was to establish PayShap as a brand that was trustworthy and approachable and show South Africans exactly how it could fit into their lives.

Insights and execution

We wanted to show people PayShap rather than tell them about it. By featuring authentic settings and demonstrating how instant interbank payments could simplify everyday life for all South Africans, people would feel seen, look at a scenario and think, “that’s me”.

The first step? Inspiration. We needed to bring to life relatable scenes that would hit close to home. So, we turned to the streets of Johannesburg. Where murals adorn buildings, and street art adds colour to every corner. In these settings, we saw how South Africans were using cash – and how they could be using PayShap. We saw spaza shops and taxi ranks. We saw car guards and salons. This was the South Africa we needed to capture.

Armed with a limited budget and a whole lot of creativity, we embraced the power of illustration juxtaposed with photography to tell the PayShap story. Of course, we couldn’t use stock images. We photographed real South Africans to help us truly capture the essence of life in our country.

By combining photos of people and illustrated scenes, we could easily adapt our content to whatever settings were needed without having to set up shoots at different locations. While this creative approach benefitted the brand in terms of flexibility, the unique illustration style also helped PayShap stand out from the corporate crowd.

We used local language that got right to the point to tell a story of connection. Of how instant interbank payments break down barriers. Whether you’re sending money home, splitting the dinner bill with your friends, or building a small business, PayShap’s got you covered.

We rolled out this creative approach on multiple channels to reach a large and diverse audience. Across social media, out of home executions, search and digital paid media, our distinct illustrated scenarios brought the rapid payment platform to life, encouraging South Africans to look for it on their banking apps and embrace this new way to pay and get paid.

The results

The launch campaign set out to make transacting easy and accessible to the average South African by creating a seamless banking experience for everyone. Part of the strategy involved driving users to activate their ShapIDs, encouraging engagement across multiple channels, and working with the country’s biggest banks to increase PayShap’s audience and influence. After one year of change (and counting), these are the results:

Over 14 million
transactions made
R9 billion
3 million
users using a ShapID identifier
Partnerships with 10
of South Africa’s biggest banks.

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