By The Chicago Egotist / /

“Meet BILL” integrated effort from Odysseus Arms builds on the agency’s introductory campaign, which doubled BILL’s awareness within target markets.

Managing finances for SMBs has many stress points, but relieving that stress can make you LOL. Especially if your financial processes need a refresh.

That’s the premise of a new ad campaign for BILL, the financial operations platform that’s helping small and midsize businesses transcend the inefficiency of slow, outdated financial processes. Called “Meet BILL,” the ads from Odysseus Arms burlesque the pressures company finance pros experience and the relief BILL provides.

“Stress Balls” opens on an accounting manager frantically squeezing a stress ball because she’s overwhelmed by “stress, expense reporting, budgeting, data entry, reimbursing, overspending, underspending.” When told, “You know, BILL can help with that,” she thinks it’s “Bill in sales?” After being shown the software, she stands up, laughs and tosses away her stress ball, and yells, “Everybody, I’m in love with BILL!” Then she catches herself and spits out, “It’s a financial platform, not Bill in sales.”

“Late Night” portrays a senior accountant who works late so often he’s resorted to installing a coffee shop in his office. Keeping him going is a bumbling barista named Bill, who can’t pronounce the customers’ names scrawled on macchiato cups. 

And “Camped Out” shows the elegant spokesperson entering a CEO’s glass-paneled waiting room to encounter the finance manager cooking breakfast in front of a tent – so he can catch the boss to approve a pile of invoices.

“Our customers, who are small and midsize businesses, tell us every day that managing their finances can be stressful and inefficient – even for financial professionals,” said BILL Chief Marketing Officer Sarah Acton. “Inspired by their stories, our new campaign recognizes and humanizes the challenges our customers face, and dramatizes differences that BILL makes in their lives in a really fun and relatable way.” 

“Meet BILL” builds on a customer-centric campaign Odysseus Arms launched a year ago. “We Don’t Do That Anymore” doubled the company’s awareness across the markets in which the campaign appeared within six months by showcasing financial leaders who dispatched needless financial process pain points by implementing BILL. For both efforts, the agency spent more than 100 hours with accounting professionals and involved them in creative storytelling using its proprietary Third3ye™ approach. They discovered a lot of work pain that’s not being addressed.

“Several accounting professionals told us they bring sleeping bags and pillows to the office during reporting season, so a tent is only a touch of hyperbole,” said Franklin Tipton, Chief Creative Officer at Odysseus Arms. “When we showed our script idea to our Third3ye panel, they said, ‘That’s me. That’s my life.’”

Vetting nearly 130 directors, the agency chose Tim Hamilton to direct the spots. Careful thought and intention went into casting, including the “Meet BILL” spokesperson – an elegant, stylish, knowledgeable fintech type – who enters scenes as a reassuring presence. Her rapport with the other actors is savvy, soothing and stabilizing while allowing her to counter the financial characters’ absurd problem-solving tendencies. 

“There’s a fine line with comedy in finance,” said Libby Brockhoff, CEO at Odysseus Arms. “You have to believe in timing, in the quiet space that lets you get it and laugh, in someone not being over-the-top happy. We’re toeing the line of absurdity without tipping over into slapstick.”

Billboards for the campaign dare to talk directly to accounting professionals. Whereas competitors go broad with blanket concepts, BILL out-of-home ads get specific. Illustrations in BILL’s signature graphic style depict accounting pros solving pain points using the BILL product with language they alone will appreciate. For example, the deskside presentation is accompanied by big copy: “More control and visibility. Precisely.” The ads are tagged, “Automate your financial operations.”

“We’ll speak in a kind of ‘accountant language shorthand’ on a billboard, which intensifies the conversation,” said Brockhoff. “BILL is designed by and for people who take protecting their company seriously. Accounting pros require perfection in their work, so they aren’t convinced unless you get granular. That’s what a mature, market-savvy, leading financial operations platform does.”

Part of Worldwide Partners Inc., Odysseus Arms teamed up with R&R Partners to design the media plan. Commercials will air on CTV devices in select markets and appear in digital media in LinkedIn and Meta, as well as other key placements including Out of Home. 


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