Lights, camera,

You’ll get through this case study in less than three minutes.

But if that’s too much then here’s the takeaway: a humorous approach to payment niggles helped Sage Pay convince a sceptical audience it needed to act and achieved 300% of pipeline target. The campaign was based around two short films, The Restaurant and The Hotel, which between them have attracted 2.8 million video views so far.

A problem in
three parts

“We were targeting growing retailers and hospitality companies, like restaurants,” says Account Director James Hollin, “and changing how they took online and in-store payments wasn’t really the top of their agenda. Sometimes things were painful and their customers faced daily grumbles, but generally everything worked, so why bother switching?”

Sage Pay's short films

Using humour to highlight payment niggles attracted 2.8m views and counting.

But getting people to prioritise switching supplier wasn’t the only issue facing Sage Pay.

“And to be honest, a lot of tech companies offer services and products with similar features and prices,” adds James. “But sometimes the difference between them isn’t about functionality, it’s about their understanding of the market.”

To round everything off, while Sage was well known for its accounting software, its payment services did not have the same name recognition.





Actually, make
that four

“We also needed to deliver a healthy pipeline,” says Copywriter Dan Squire. “So we sat down, and looked at what our audience’s customers cared about, those payment niggles. Add all those up and suddenly those audiences are staring at a major business problem. That gave them a reason to switch and demonstrated SagePay’s understanding of the market.”

“The collateral is some of the best we’ve ever had from marketing. It’s made a huge difference. And the opportunities are exactly the kind we’re looking for – normally we have to filter out a lot of mis-classified MQLs, but all of these are genuine leads.”

Barry Stearn
Strategic Partnerships & Key
Accounts Director, Sage Pay

You’ve got problems; big, big problems

Dan and the team turned up those payment niggles until they became significant threats.

“Once we’d cracked that idea open, those problems sort of came up, knocked on the door and asked for somewhere to sit down,” says Planner Oli Marshall. “Poor customer experience, the reputational hit from fraudulent behaviour, an inability to expand internationally if people can’t pay in the local currency – they’re all major issues. It was messaging that would really resonate with companies looking to grow.”

Let’s make it haha and heehee

We’d amplified those issues into something bigger, but for that to land they also needed to remain recognisable to the audience. They all worked in retail and hospitality so we gave them something they saw every day, frustrated customers.

“We really wanted to show the niggles in action so opted for two short films. And to make SagePay stand out, we wrote and filmed them as comedy,” says Filmmaker Will Dennies. “You see humour used very rarely in B2B marketing, but do it right and it doesn’t matter if the proposition is similar to someone else, because the audience is chuckling along and suddenly on your side.”

The Restaurant and The Hotel were both written, filmed and edited in a couple of weeks. So far, they’ve attracted 2.8 million views between them
(and counting).

And the score
on the door is…


leads against a target of 1,000


of pipeline target


views of both films on YouTube

4 months

from brief to launch


lead conversion rate double Sage’s average

Not all leads are born equal

Alongside the two short films, the campaign was built around digital ads, social posts and syndicated content, which pointed towards a landing page on the main website. When they arrived, targets would find a range of assets, including the Insider’s Guide to how businesses are making payments pain-free.

“The page wasn’t separate to Sage’s main site but part of it, so we benefited hugely from an SEO perspective,” adds James. “Everything went through Eloqua and fed into the main CRM platform, helping qualify the leads, so only the good stuff was passed over.”

“Because our average deal size is low, we have to generate a lot of leads to hit target. If the lead qualification isn’t set up right, you end up sacrificing quality for quantity – and this just aggravates the sales team. This campaign has been exceptional at generating leads at scale, but what stands it apart is the consistent quality of the opportunities that have come out of it – truly hitting our target sweet spot.”

Simon Frankum
Digital Marketing Lead, Sage Pay


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