Thursday, September 24, 2015

Clever Kash

My first response upon seeing (New Zealand bank) ASB’s new generation moneybox ‘Clever Kash’ was delight. I love it. Brilliant idea, and so beautifully ‘Kiwi’ but at the same time global, as it responds to a universal trend: our increasingly cashless society. It takes an icon and a concept from the past and brings it into the modern world.

Of course there’s a story behind it, which starts way, way back, back in the days when we used to collect and keep our pocket money in piggybanks and moneyboxes for safe-keeping. As children we’d shake our moneyboxes to hear the jingle-jangle of our weekly chore efforts, and the gaining weight of our moneyboxes told us our savings were growing. The excitement! The suspense! The arguments with siblings over who had the most!

In hindsight, I can’t help but see these various money-saving rituals through rose-tinted glasses. It seemed like magic. Chores became money and money became something special. It might have seemed like magic, but ultimately, it made me understand the value of money.

But things have changed. Money has evolved to the point where we don’t even equate it with tangible things like coins or dollar notes. Most of us are quite content with seeing our financial status and transactions simply displayed on a screen. Most of us still understand the value of money because it’s been a gradual transition. But our children, and our children’s children, may not. The kind of magic they see involves money that pops up on a phone, or that comes from a piece of plastic. Ta-da! Cha-ching!

ASB Chief Architect James Bergin makes a good point: “…it’s harder to teach your children about money if they can’t touch it and feel it and see it.”

So, Saatchi & Saatchi NZ, ASB's Technology & Innovation Labs, Assembly, Kamahi Electronics and 4Designset to work; on rebooting the moneybox for the 21st century. They took the ASB moneybox from the 1960s, Kashin the elephant, and gave it a digital makeover. One that recreates that magic of moneyboxes of generations past, a little yellow elephant that can be physically held in two hands, with sounds and animations that bring it to life. Clever Kash.

Clever Kash interacts with ASB’s banking app, so that parents can sit down with their children and ‘swipe’ coins from the app to Clever Kash, which displays an account balance on its tummy. It’s still in its prototype phase, but I can’t wait to see what Kiwi kids think of Clever Kash, and whether this brilliant idea permeates globally. It’s already rocketed to #4 on Creativity’s hot list, a portent of things to come.

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