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How 12 wallets brought a brand to life

Putting honesty, trust, and fairness to the test in Atlantic Canada

We live in an era of fake news, increasing dishonesty and decreasing fairness. We face distrust in everything – from our leadership, to our idols, to the media and especially to our financial institutions. While values like honesty, trust, and fairness matter, it’s difficult to see them at play in everyday life. Armed with the knowledge that Canadians were frustrated and feeling mislead, Atlantic Credit Unions offer a simple, yet bold solution — a bank that puts people before profits. If more Atlantic Canadians could see these values at work—or even take part in an action that demonstrated them—people would be more likely to pay attention to a banking alternative.


NATIONAL was tasked with raising awareness for credit unions in Atlantic Canada and demonstrating what they stand for. Knowing that the values of honesty, trust, and fairness are central to credit unions’ identity, we knew this would be a key piece to highlight. But we also knew that we needed to be nimble, creative and most of all highly effective while working within the confines of a limited budget.


To do this, we developed a social experiment to not just tell people the values of honesty, trust and fairness matter to credit unions, but to show them. NATIONAL stuffed 12 wallets full of receipts, a credit union debit card, $100 cash and a contact number. Then we “lost” those wallets across Atlantic Canada to see if they would come back, capturing the experiment in the form of a 90-second video.


Of the 12 wallets we lost, nine made their way back. Every single one still had the cash inside. But more than that, the video and the credit union story resonated. And not just with Atlantic Canadians, but with Canadians as a whole. Within 24 hours of posing the video, it received over 20,000 views, and that number rose to over 200,000 views in less than two weeks. The campaign also got noticed online and in the media.

In total, the story received:

  • 4.5 million traditional media impressions from local, regional and national TV news coverage
  • Top trending story in Canada on January 9, 2018
  • 4.3 million social media impressions
  • More than 10,000 engagements (likes and shares) and hundreds of comments about personal experiences, restored trust and goodness in Atlantic Canada

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