Animated cartoon as a successful marketing tool to attract residential clients

Ksenia Kroshneva and Honorata Fijalka
May 2014
Family life: Worries turn into opportunities.

Tell me a fact and I’ll learn. Tell me a truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.

-North American Indian proverb


What does a hot soup, woollen socks and a snowy day spent at home have to do with selling loans? RuSEFF-Residential sees a need for personal comfort as an essential element in energy efficient decision-making. This is why the RuSEFF-Residential team used these and other symbols in a cartoon film to trigger household decisions for energy efficient refurbishment and its financing with the help of a loan.

When you first see the cartoon characters, you may think they are your next-door neighbours – parents busy with everyday routine and a little girl telling the story of her family and their coping with the freezing cold and increasing energy bills. The visual style of animation is bright: You see the boiling soup, a working mum who takes care of the household budget and a father who is smart and inspiring neighbours. Thanks to the childlike voiceover, the story sounds touching and immediately strikes the chord with the viewers. Oh, and don’t forget Ayka – our family’s charming furry friend.

Watching the film, you realize that the film is actually about the best part of your own self. You are the Archimedes who, says ‘eureka!’ and takes action to improve the comfort of living for you and your beloved ones. Taking out a loan is part of a mission. It’s a mission, which lies at the heart of our live, it’s about our home.

The video was created as a multimedia teaser for the RuSEFF-Residential audiences and was further used for marketing purposes. It was presented to the guests of the RuSEFF launch event – bankers, journalists, and technology suppliers.  The leading Russian banking web portal based in Moscow used the film as door-opener when reporting about the RuSEFF-Residential programme. The cartoon won the hearts of journalists in Russia’s South Regions, when Center-Invest Bank, the first partner bank of the Programme opened its press breakfasts in Rostov-on-Don and Krasnodar in June 2013.

The most rewarding moment in our work with the marketing cartoon was the whisper among the journalists, right before the press events: ‘Have you heard? They’ve already disbursed EBRD funding for residential loans. Can it be?’ Yes, indeed: Within the first six months Center-Invest Bank disbursed USD 16.6 million towards over 1900 residential loans.

What made the video so successful? The secret is that it not only provided information; it created a feeling of care and responsibility. Feelings are the driving factor in taking consumer decisions. The uniqueness of the film in terms of achieving the main marketing goal lies in the way it speaks about energy efficiency: instead of kilowatt-hours of savings and dull statistics it appeals to people’s emotions and their own personal stories. In a playful way it invites them to think that making their households warmer, more comfortable, and less expensive is within their reach, and even easier so with the help of RuSEFF Residential loans.

The SEFF community quickly took up the cartoon idea. It inspired our KyrSEFF Programme colleagues to create their own story of a Kyrgyz family with respect to local diversity.

Now looking back at the experience we can confidently say that this was a success worth a sequel.  So the second episode of the cartoon is now online and available on the RuSEFF Youtube channel!


RuSEFF-Residential is a credit line of 100 million US dollars to finance the modernization of houses and apartments in Russia in accordance with European energy efficiency standards. The program was designed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and funded by the Austrian Ministry of Finance (BMF).


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