Taking ABSA Microloans to greater heights


At the time of the Izokuvusa Micro-Loan campaign launch, none of the main banks offered micro-loans. The Absa campaign specifically targeted the LSM 1-5 who were not catered for by the mainstream banks. This target market is the one most likely to approach the ruthless loan sharks known in South African townships as “Abo-Mashonisa” – a Zulu word meaning those who sink or drown you. The other primary objective was to establish Absa as the first choice Micro-Loan lender for the responsible borrower.

Solution /Strategic Insights

We also had to simalutaneouly position Absa as the first high street bank to openly offer a micro-loan to customers by making micro-lending affordable and accessible. We developed a campaign line and theme “Izokuvusa” – which is the direct opposite of “Uku-Shonisa” (to drown). Izokuvusa means “to lift you up” or “to boost” (financially)” in township patois. Using imagery that resonated well with our target market, our campaign used everyday scenarios that result from temporary financial challenges that could easily be fixed by a Micro-Loan from Absa. (e.g. in-branch posters below)

Campaign Mix/Activities

  • TV


The assignment enhanced the Absa brand perception with the targeted audience and the bank’s Micro-Lending offering was well received, resulting in the doubling of the loan book to over R 2.5bn in just 18 months.