By David Pendered
SunTrust has purchased a TV ad during Super Bowl 50 to launch a consumer education campaign. It intends to help people ease their financial stress by helping them improve their skills managing money.
SunTrust chose the nation’s largest TV audience in order to draw widespread attention to the bank’s new Onward and Upward campaign, dubbed onUp.
The TV spot has a voice-over by actor Gary Sinese. The TV ad is posted on the campaign’s interactive website.
SunTrust created the campaign in response to its research, which indicates financial stress could be considered a national epidemic.
SunTrust reports that 80 percent of Americans say money worries keep them awake at night. Nearly three-quarters of Americans feel financial stress. Nearly three-quarters of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, regardless of the size of the paycheck.
Website visitors can take a quick quiz to learn their financial profile. The site is packed with simple steps people can take to curb spending and manage their finances – steps aimed at improving their quality of life.
Allison Dukes, chairman, president and CEO of SunTrust’s Atlanta division, said a good illustration of suggested spending cuts involves skipping that daily cup of designer coffee. The $5 can be saved or spent elsewhere – as a gift, perhaps, or donation to a favorite cause.
“My husband and I committed to do it,” Dukes said of the coffee example. “We started making a pot of coffee in the morning. It’s a small thing, but it makes a difference and it’s achievable. These are small goals that add up.”
Some of these small goals are outlined in a chapter on the onUp site titled, “Save Big: Three simple strategies that work.” Here are highlights of the page:
- Keep your eye on the prize: “Instead of saying, ‘I don’t have $1,200, I’m going to charge it,’ the author of Dollars & Uncommon Sense: Basic Training for Your Money [Steve Repak] says, “it’s a lot more manageable to break that price down and set $100 aside every month.”
- Economize … reasonably: “Rather than telling yourself you can never order takeout again, Repak recommends reasonable cuts to small items in your budget. For example, say, ‘I’m going to start packing my lunch,’ or ‘I’m going to go to the movies every other week, instead of every Saturday,’ he says. It’s about giving up little things.”
- Enjoy your savings success story: Repak sees a lot of clients who are encouraged by the first steps they take toward saving. “After they’ve accomplished their first big goal, they see that the little changes in their behavior can be rewarding,” he says. “Instead of looking for immediate gratification, they get the delayed gratification.”
Dukes said SunTrust is offering onUp as part of its mission to promote financial literacy. SunTrust has embedded financial literacy in its purpose message:
- “SunTrust is a purpose-driven organization, dedicated to lighting the way to financial well-being for our clients, teammates and communities. We embarked on this purpose journey a couple of years ago. Lighting the way to financial well-being means helping people and businesses gain the confidence and control they are seeking over their finances.”
In April 2015, Dukes and her predecessor, Jenner Wood, volunteered at Marietta Middle School. They were part of SunTrust’s teamwork with Junior Achievement to provide financial education programs in Georgia, Florida, Maryland and Tennessee through the month of April, which is National Financial Capability Month.
Wood was promoted in October 2015 to executive vice president in SunTrust’s corporate office. Dukes was promoted simultaneously to lead the bank’s Atlanta/Georgia division.
“Now is the time to take action and do things to reduce financial stress,” Dukes said. “OnUp is to inspire people to define their financial personality, and provide tools and tips for small things that can make a difference.”