Scratch Ep. 8 – How ‘Batshit Crazy’ Advertising Can Actually Work with Abba Newbery of Habito

Abba Newbery of Habito talks to Eric about how truly unique and disruptive campaigns create memorable advertising for this modern, groundbreaking mortgage broker, mortgage lender and home buying platform. 

Abba came to this fintech start-up from a background in media and is now proud to make “batshit crazy mortgage ads” that speak to Habito’s strong purpose of setting people free from the hell of getting a mortgage. Abba explains that everything they do creatively comes from customer insights and admits that they do it “in a ludicrous manner.” There are, for example, TV ads showing animated characters being gruesomely killed by their mortgages, and the admittedly gorgeous print campaign depicting the mortgage kama sutra, and the erotic novel called The Road to Completion that promises “to put the moans back into your mortgage.” 

Abba is a “huge evangelist” of purposeful marketing but admits that telling people about doing the right thing can be really boring. It’s a big challenge to make purpose interesting. If you can get people to engage in your ads so much that they complain about them, she maintains, you’re doing a good job. “Every moment of making a Habito ad is terrifying”. She talks about some huge risks they’ve taken, and some they’ve had to reject. 

Abba discusses her approach to Habito’s relationship with its creative agency, Uncommon. She is “inherently biased” in favor of agencies as that’s her background, and she trusts the creativity that comes out of agencies. They would constantly share the work as it was being produced even in the roughest state, so there were no surprises or disappointments. She finishes up by talking about how they test their ads once they’re finished to make sure they’re doing exactly what they want to do and then they tweak them based on people’s reactions.  

Scratch is made in partnership with Attest, a consumer research platform with access to over 110 million consumers across 50 markets.

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