SoFi, the largest student loan refinancing and consolidation company, is about to become a household name. SoFi recently announced that it has purchased a 30 seconds spot during tomorrow’s big game.

The Broncos and Panthers have been preparing all season for the chance to hold the Lombardi trophy. But the Super Bowl isn’t just about football. The Super Bowl is about the commercials! It is expected that more than 100 million viewers will tune into CBS to watch this year’s Super Bowl.

Traditionally, Super Bowl ads have been reserved for companies with big marketing budgets. Late last year, CBS CEO Leslie Moonves announced that 30 second Super Bowl 50 ads are selling for as much as $5 million. SoFi is expecting to spend a whopping $20 million on the TV ad and related digital ad spend. SoFi will be running accompanying digital ads on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. The Wall Street Journal reported that SoFi is spending roughly 20% of its annual marketing budget on the ad.

SoFi is looking to build awareness to its new branding strategy and promote its new motto: “Don’t Bank. SoFi.”

Since 2011, SoFi has lived up to its new tagline. The company has received tremendous support from consumers. Low rates, dedicated customer support, and a fee-less model has helped the company build a very loyal customer base. Unlike other lenders, SoFi charges zero application, origination, or pre-payment fees for its student loan refinancing products.

SoFi surely has the money to spend. Just last year the company raised $1 billion on a lofty $4 billion valuation. Since launching in 2011, SoFi has been able to refinance over $6 billion in student loan debt. According to the company’s website, the average SoFi member saves $14,000 by refinancing his or her student loans. Furthermore, SoFi allows members to refinance their federal and private student loans to rates as low as 2.13%.

More recently, SoFi has started offering other financial products such as mortgages, personal loans, and even wealth management.

SoFi’s strategy to pair TV ads with digital channels is brilliant. The Super Bowl ad should give the company an initial bump in consumer awareness. Then, the digital follow up campaigns will help to stimulate consumers.

SoFi’s commercial has already been released. However, in the days following the release the commercial met some criticism. In short, SoFi was forced to soften its final line from “Find out if you’re great at; you’re probably not.” to “Find out if you’re great at”. A SoFi spokesperson told Adweek that “We were trying to make the commercial witty with the last line … but the more we talked to members and discussed internally, we agreed it wasn’t authentic to our brand. Identifying the greatness in people is a core SoFi tenet. We’re invested in our members’ success and want them to succeed.”

So should more startups consider investing in Super Bowl advertising? Perhaps. SoFi is looking to set off a chain reaction of brand awareness. This strategy, if executed successfully, could yield incredible results for the company. SoFi is not trying to be known as a big bank on Wall Street. The company’s new tagline, coupled with this advertising campaign, should go a long way to building up its reputation as a friendly financial services company.


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