TurboTax: It Doesn’t Take a Genius to Do Your Taxes


A campaign to playfully erase consumers’ self-doubt when it comes to self-filing taxes

In 2016, there were still millions of skeptical Americans scared of doing their taxes on their own. With the It Doesn’t Take a Genius to Do Your Taxes campaign, our strategy was to address the uncertainty and self-doubt around this stressful annual task and to help people see TurboTax as the tech innovator that revolutionized the tax category. To get there, we needed to start acting like a startup and show America that TurboTax’s product was the new, smarter way to do taxes.

At the heart of the campaign is a TurboTax experience that is so smart, relevant, and highly personalized that taxpayers will see that they can do their own taxes with confidence. In other words, the product is genius so you don’t have to be. To bring a genius product to life, we created a genius-filled campaign. Each spot featured a real genius to underscore the genius of a particular innovative product feature.

The campaign debuted with a series of broadcast spots that featured some of the world’s greatest minds demonstrating that TurboTax is so simple and intuitive that even they can’t make it any easier to use or understand. The resulting moments are amusingly awkward as the geniuses—a theoretical physicist, a mathematician, and a computer scientist—discover that they are entirely redundant when it comes to helping people file their taxes with TurboTax.

Together, the series of spots told the story of a game-changing product that gives people a new and accessible way to do their taxes. This message, imparted through humorous executions, made it clear that it’s silly for people to think they couldn’t do their own taxes.

The Results The creative elicited the best brand memorability score (ad memorability and brand linkage combined) for TurboTax since 2012. And it grew the business. While the industry expects approximately 1% growth, TurboTax had over 10% customer growth in 2016. TurboTax Online units grew 15% from 2015 and the retention rate climbed above 75%.

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