iShares | IQ


Making Complex Things Simple

Like many products with complex value propositions, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are not the most exciting topic for most people, even financial professionals.  That’s why we created an engaging, social learning experience to make ETFs easier for iShares’ clients and financial advisors to understand.

After creating award-winning work for the iShares brand over many years, we were very familiar with the intricacies of ETFs and had already developed an educational approach to marketing complex financial products.




Research-driven insights have led us to the use of visual metaphors, for example, for complex conceptual ideas, which when combined with the incorporation of different learning styles enable us to effectively communicate very complex concepts quickly and easily, often to audiences with a low tolerance for the subject matter. Our work with many financial firms, as well as clients such as IBM and UPS, has taught us the secrets and techniques of successfully presenting complex value propositions. In this case international ETFs become a paint palette, or diversification becomes a bento box. Combined with social activation and unexpected engagements in the category such as a contest asking viewers to explain ETFs with their own metaphors, we have consistently exceeded awareness and activity goals.

  • This project produced an average of seven minutes view time, 73% completion rates and overall the highest engagement of all iShares educational initiatives to date.
  • Winner of numerous awards including Financial Communications Society Portfolio Gold Award