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Bogota

Meet the World’s First Town That Got Rid of Cash

Leo Burnett Bogota partners with Davivienda Bank to launch a mobile payment service in the oldest village in Colombia

On most days, Concepción, the oldest town in Colombia, seems frozen in time. Thanks to Davivienda Bank and Leo Burnett Bogota, the future has arrived.

Concepción became the first and, so far, only town in the world that has stopped using physical currency, relying solely on mobile payments, even when most of its residents continue to use old mobile devices.

The impact is captured in a quirky and colorful case study film, “Concepción,” featuring the local residents using mobile payments for every single transaction.

Bogota Conception 1

We chatted with Daniel-Mauricio Sarmiento, Leo Burnett Bogota’s chief creative officer, to learn more about the inspiration behind “Concepción” and what Davivienda Bank, which has been with the agency for 36 years, has in store for Colombia.

Can you tell us about the client and the product promoted in this campaign?
Davivienda Bank is one of the largest banks in Colombia. The bank recently created an innovative service that lets users transfer cash between mobile devices, regardless of the type of device they have, as long as the user has a bank account with Davivienda. This mobile-payment service is called DaviPlata, and the brief we received is to raise awareness for it.

What is the insight behind the campaign?
After studying the product to learn how it worked and the advantages for consumers, we decided on a campaign that combined two insights. On the one hand, the most popular and traditional way for people to pay each other in Colombia is to pass physical currency from hand to hand. This is how Colombians transact debts, loans, purchases, etc. On the other hand, a mobile-payment service like DaviPlata enables people to live their lives without having to walk down the street with pockets full of cash to conduct transactions.

Why Concepción?
We decided to go to one of the most traditional villages in the country, where everything is done the old way. We launched DaviPlata in Concepción, and educated the townspeople on its benefits and how to use it. DaviPlata does not cost them additional money, and they could go an entire day without spending any cash. For one day in particular, all the commerce in town would only work through DaviPlata.

Bogota Conception 2

How was the campaign executed?
It unfolded just as we’d hoped. With the participation of important local figures and with the support of Davivienda, we successfully launched the first day without cash. The town’s inhabitants experienced all the benefits of the product. But we didn’t stop there. We publicized the event and told the whole country about the intriguing story of Concepción, where even in the midst of old traditions and rustic, ancient ways, the process of exchanging currency had changed. Concepción is now the town that is solidly in the future. The case study film demonstrates the roots of rural Colombian society and juxtaposes the old-fashioned ways of a town stuck in the past with townspeople who have embraced one of the most future-facing innovations.

Concepción is the first of 20 towns where DaviPlata is being rolled out in Colombia. This is a promising start for a country where almost 70 percent of its population doesn’t even have a bank account yet.