Brokerage firm Wealthfront is targeting millennials with an Instagramming cat mascot (pronouns she/her) and airdrops.
I, Like, Want a Computer to Do It
Like many brokers in an economic crisis, Wealthfront is looking to bring in more capital while sending out soothing e-mails, reminding clients not to panic sell. More specifically, they are trying to calm those snobby millennials.
The Redwood City, CA-based firm has been courting millennials with robo-investing since 2018. Just like adulting, millennials appear to want the computer to do everything for them.
Other brokers like Betterment have also popped up to target the market with a one-size-fits-all investing. These firms aim to be what Wikipedia is for information and Mapquest Google Maps is for directions, (but for retirement accounts).
Wealthfront has been attempting to lure customers to its checking accounts with an underwhelming 0.35% APR for months. It turns out they need to take a page from cryptocurrency to achieve it. And so a kitty-cat mascot and free money schemes were born.
Enter Cash Cat
Meet Wealthfront’s new mascot, a cat named Cash Cat. This feline has got all the hip things millennials love, like Instagram… and pronouns. But this cat money meme is an intellectual and her page invites you to follow her to her library.
Once there, she reads the epic novel Infinite Jest and begs you to open a checking account. She’s even taken over Wealthfront’s Twitter.
Oh, and she also promises you free money, aptly called drops (actually it’s a sweepstake). This whole marketing campaign certainly seems to be inspired by crypto. After all, Bitcoin is immensely popular with millennials.
Drops sound pretty reminiscent of airdrops. And perhaps Wealthfront believes Cash Cat will take off, kind of like Dogecoin. A coincidence? Probably not.
Cash cat herself is more than a little patronizing too, but that’s probably another way to reach the youth of today:
“Yes, yes, I know what you’re thinking. Yet another financial institution with yet another talking cat, and yet another ‘Drops Program’ giving away cash to loyal clients. Classic.”
When most cats “drop” something, it isn’t money. But then again, this cat can talk, so we are going to have to suspend disbelief.
Wealthfront is doing well, with Assets Under Management (AUM) growing every year since the company’s inception. Now, with tighter belts, they hope that Cash Cat will be the company’s checking account golden goose.
The Opposite of Blockfolio
For what it’s worth, this marketing gimmick made me want to open an account. But as opposed to Blockfolio-addicting notifications, Wealthfront encourages users not to check their balance. In the stock market, research shows, this actually leads to better profits in the long run.
While the retirement account of the future will probably be a set-it-and-forget-it model, it could be fueled by Dogecoin-esque memes and airdrops. It sounds crazy, but it just might work.