All over Latin America, women buy groceries from local store owners on credit and pay off the bill at the end of the month. But when it comes to getting a loan from a local bank or microfinance institution, that credit history was not helpful because it wasn’t recorded anywhere except in the shopkeeper’s notebook or possibly basic computer.
Until, that is, when ad agency DDB Mexico, whose client WeCapital wanted a campaign on financial inclusion of low income women, discovered that the problem wasn’t that women lacked access to credit. The problem was that 83% of Mexican women did not have a credit history which meant they couldn’t get bank loans for studying or creating businesses.
“So we started thinking about how to create a product that makes a credit history for them, not just for WeCapital – if we’re able to create a credit history for them, they could go to other financial institutions and can get credit somewhere else,” said DBB Mexico president Juan Isaza.
The ad agency saw a chance to create a practical solution to that problem by tapping into those millions of unofficial credit records kept by Mexican shopkeepers and creating a tool that would give women access to all financial institutions – Data Tienda (Data Shop).
“We started with a pilot in Iztapalapa, one of the poorest areas in Mexico,” said Mr. Isaza. “We wanted to test it with shopkeepers to see if it worked and we also talked to women and asked if they’d use it and authorise their data, and we got an incredible reception. So we began in WeCapital’s areas of influence.”
Then they turned to ‘perifeneo’ – cars topped by a speaker which drive through the streets promoting and announcing products which people go into the stree to buy and trade. “So we used that same system, announcing [the initiative] and asking women to get at least five shopkeepers to help them and we started growing that way.”
In January 2021, WeCapital launched Data Tienda (Data Shop). Women could sign up on the datatienda.mx platform, entering records from between five and 10 shopkeepers. Once vetted, the shopkeepers’ records were converted into official credit histories.
By December 2021, more than 100 women had received the first microcredits for their businesses, and the scheme expanded from Mexico City to other major cities, such as Puebla, Guadalajara, Morelia, and Monterrey.
Since the platform was launched, more than 10,300 women have registered to build their credit history and Data Tienda has captured data from more than 50,000 business owners across Mexico. More than 2,300 women have received microloans for their businesses and study plans. Data Tienda is helping rebuild the credit histories of 35 million low income women in Mexico.
The campaign was awarded the Grand Prix in the Creative Data category at Cannes Lions 2022. Alan Kelly, jury president and chief creative officer of Rothco Ireland, said he loves “what if ideas”—ideas that simply asked if it was possible to take something old, like written loan records, and turn it into “the solution to a very real and new problem.”
Another key was the effort’s ability to find success and scale for continued use, he said. Rather than rely on a large team of data collectors, it used WhatsApp bots to deliver its form to the nearly 50,000 shopkeepers that had participated as of the time of the case study.
The ad agency wants to take the idea to other countries in Latin America. A company in Guatemala is interested in developing it there, and an NGO that promotes women’s entrepreneurship that operates in four or five Latin American countries is interested. WeCapital is open to offering the platform to other countries and institutions.
‘Touch the Pickle: Marketing Gender Equality’. Under the Influence with Terry O’Reilly, CBC Radio, Mar, 23, 2023.
Insight & Strategy | WeCapital: Data Tienda. World Federation of Advertisers. Jul. 27, 2022
DDB Mexico’s Data Tienda Wins 2 Grand Prix. Doyle Dane Bernbach.