Debt Relief Startup Uses 'Squid Game' Business Card Designs for Terrifying Ad Campaign
We’ve been writing a lot about “Squid Game” recently. Pretty much everyone has, actually. It’s the top show on Netflix right now, and has been a pre-Halloween thriller phenomenon. It’s also created some opportunities for good merchandising efforts from Netflix.
If you haven’t watched it yet, the plot of the show is that a shadowy organization contacts people who are in financial distress, be it from gambling debt, loans, personal crisis, what have you. After they speak with the potential target, they give them a cryptic card with a triangle, square and circle on it, as well as a phone number. From there, the game itself has deadly consequences, and that logo plays a big part in the show.
A debt relief startup company has been using the theme of the show for a self-promotion that feels a little bit on-the-nose. People in New York and Miami might have found one of 10,000 business cards with the same three symbols as on the show, but with the message on the back saying “There’s a better way to get out of debt” and the Relief logo.
Capitalizing on the success of “Squid Game,” Relief, an app that uses AI and collective bargaining to eliminate credit card debt, worked with Halifax, Canada-based agency Wunder to create an unofficial tie-up with the show with a—hopefully—happier ending. https://t.co/E514VWqHQ4
— Ad Age (@adage) October 18, 2021
Relief is an app that, according to Adweek, “aims to tackle the massive problem of credit card debt in America.” The company worked with Canadian advertising agency Wunder for the promotion, looking to capitalize on the “Squid Game” hype at its peak.
“We thought if we could strike with something quick enough and relevant to the situation, we could create a surprising brand interaction and start the conversation around debt,” Wunder creative director Stephen Flynn told Adweek. “By using a craft stock and a similar look, we were able to make something immediately recognizable without actually saying ‘Squid Game’ anywhere on the card. But for those who know, they know. And for the four people who don’t, we’ll settle for them just reading a card with a very straightforward message about debt solution.”
Startup Relief, which aims to address the problem of credit card debt, is piggybacking on the popularity of Squid Game with cards featuring familiar symbols—and an unexpected message. https://t.co/wPV2ghBvyc
— Adweek (@Adweek) October 14, 2021
If the show stays as popular as it is now, Relief could expand the promo to other cities. By that point, however, it might not have as much of a shocking impression. Also, with how quickly trends move these days, “Squid Game” could be the topic du jour one day and then old news the next.
But, for now, this is pretty much a masterclass in a minimalist product that conveys a big message. The logo is instantly recognizable and, luckily, made up of three basic shapes rather than anything trademarked.
Thankfully, Relief doesn’t seem to require any of its customers play a lethal version of “Tug of War.”