(Child) “My Grandmother always tells me that her bank too was born this way. Of these seeds, thanks to the help and work of everybody, many banks were born. My grandmother always tells me that she was there when the first seed was planted in San Giovanni di Querciola. That seed became a big and strong bank with the support of men and women such as my grandmother, and now everybody is very happy! That is so true that simple things can become big and important, just as my grandmother’s bank! ”
(Grandmother) “I still remember the first time I opened my bank account. I was very nervous because I did not know what was that all about. I went there, they explained me everything , every little detail, and this made wonder: “But if I do this, then I do become a partner of the bank and I own a little piece of the bank….then I will become a banker too!”
The informal Pitch
It all started back in January 2012. The good thing of living in a small village is that sooner or later you get to know everybody. At that time I stumbled upon man who was the General Manager and co-founder of a local cooperative bank– a small bank indeed, only 11 branches, but it was a fast growing company, very modern and with a great reputation. While chatting in front of a pizza he asked me to create a photography book about the history of his bank “But I do not want just a book, I want something more …something new…more…different“.
That was the pitch, a very informal one.
And that simple pitch grew all of a sudden with the help of my visionary mind, becoming much MORE than a book.
I created a concept, based on a very simple idea: that bank, that local bank, had roots in the community, the community was the field were the branches were growing, the customers nourished these branches but at the same time, the branches created prosperity for the customers and for the local community. The bank was like a “siit” as in our local dialect a farm is called. And “L’è propria un bél siit” translates into “It is really a good place (where to live and to prosper)“.
Therefore, the story of the bank became the story of the “siit” and of the many trees (the bank branches) that were born in that farm thanks to the help of men and women (the customers and the bank shareholders). And the story was not to be read on a book, but on a website (siit also translates into the Italian “sito” which in English means “site”).
I was inspired by a wonderful project I already wrote about, Bear71 using the same web browsing user experience to replicate the “siit” map – where all the branches were located. Each branch was symbolized by a tree and each bank customer was one of the leaves of the trees. By clicking on the leaf, the user could reveal the customer witnessing his/her multimedia story inside the bank.
It is a whole thing
To better explain to the “casually-encountered-and-informal-prospect” what was in my mind, I asked advice to two smart creatives, Emiliano Fantuzzi (SbATCH) and Cristina Monzillo to create the above Vimeo video.
But I did not stop my mind at the concept pushing it a little bit forward, adding more value to what was already a cool project with social responsibility and generation-gap filling ideas.
In my mind, the whole platform had to be created using video/audio/photography content collected by a carefully instructed pool of bank customers, aged between 60 and 70 – those man and women who do know everybody in town, have plenty of time and would love to be involved in something “new”.
The hardware used in filming was meant to be iPhones or iPads only, and all the interviews had to be recorded either at the home or business of the interviewed – starting from the eldest customers or founder of the bank.
Everything had to be done for fun, for creating a great collective memory and something very “cool”, something that the “aged” interviewed would have loved – and be proud – to share with their nephews and younger generations.
When the General Manager saw this video the first time, he almost broke into tears. He said: “I want it“. Then the usual Italian thing happened: the project was too expensive, times were not good enough and finally the General Manager changed bank and our project fell into oblivion.