PayActiv has revolutionized the Earned Wage Access industry and disrupted the multibillion dollar, slimy PayDay lending market by helping thousands of hourly workers get their money. They wanted to create an engaging film that connects with viewers emotionally and enlightens the business world on the benefits of timely access to pay. We partnered with Round Table Companies to produce and strategize the film, promotional materials, and microsite.

It has helped close deals. That’s the most important thing. It has helped close Deals. In our business from where we stand, I can say it has paid for itself.

Safwan Shah, CEO, PayActiv

Campaign Goals

  • Crystalize position as market leader.
  • Educate the public to this issue of Earned Wage Access by creating “aha” moments and change perceptions.
  • Less interested in viral and more interested in nurturing & converting leads who are interested in knowing more.
  • Dominate the speaking circuit & facilitate engaging thought leadership.
  • 300% ROI calculated through new contracts.


  • Long-form film distributed on YouTube – 16 minutes in length
  • Campaign of promo videos “trailers” and supporting content re-purposed from film footage to flood all the channels.
  • Press kit. Bios, Film description, behind the scenes stills, footage and audio for appearances and radio.
  • A Microsite to go more in-depth, add professionalism, give an independent sensibility to entice journalism coverage and film festivals.


  • Paid for itself after one month and continues to convert leads. “The film moves mountains.”
  • PayActiv + featured experts, influencers, partner companies all shared on social channels and newsletters combining massive email lists, building audience, & generating leads.
  • High CTR & conversions on Facebook, Instagram, & Linkedin
  • The film is a popular tool for the sales team and used in dozens of large acquisitions and new partnerships.
  • Earned media appearances in trade mags, newspapers, & podcasts.
  • PayActiv invited to speak at large industry and business conferences with screenings and heavy interest in learning more. The film has been shown at dozens of events with business leaders, HR professionals, conscious leadership, and more.

Key Insights

Documentaries for Brands Cover The Entire Customer Journey

At the top of the customer journey are educational videos that build awareness. Documentaries are educational by nature. At the middle of the funnel are explainer videos. Docs explain by nature. At the bottom are testimonials. Those are the personal stories within your documentary whose lives have been changed due to whatever awesome solution or idea that you’re selling. It packs it all into one big knock out punch.

Captive Audience For Heightened Emotional Attachment

Long-form is a fantastic fit for Live audiences, Conferences, & Sales Meetings because of the heightened emotional element that viewers share when experiencing it together and due to the captive audience. They are more engaged and mentally prepared to sit and enjoy something longer and more in-depth. There is also psychology behind showing your message on a big screen. Watching with an audience on a big screen demonstrates higher levels of authority and a collective sense from the audience that if the convention or meeting leaders have agreed to take valuable time to show this to our group, then it must be important.

“Aha” Moments For Lead Nurture

Long-form is a great fit for disruption. PayActiv needed to completely change what people thought about the idea of earned wage access, something that had never been done before in a conscious way. This allowed us to go in-depth on the topic, dispel myths, answer questions, and sell the idea, which of course, sells itself because it’s actually a brilliant and worthwhile idea. For as long as paychecks have existed, hourly workers have been paid bi-weekly. So it’s pretty radical to give them limited access to their earned wages when they need it. Long-form answers all the critics questions and pushes leads over the edge.


The reality of documentary is that it’s all about guerilla marketing. You want email lists, amplification opportunities, and seals of approval. That means you need influencers. You need an organization or person with a lot of reach. Under Armour recently did a documentary and it featured their high-profile athletes who can share the film with their audiences. North Face regularly produces documentaries and works with their celebrity athletes. But they don’t need to be celebrities to get you attention. You can partner with other organizations that have similar goals. For instance we interviewed the CEO for The Financial Health Network who also wants to see workers have better access to income and they have big lists. We also interviewed the Co-Founder of Conscious Capitalism who is very influential.

Maximizing Content For Added Value

Long-form, and especially interview-style documentary, allows for the maximization of content. We interviewed a dozen experts each for 30 minutes to an hour which means there’s dozens of ways to re-edit snackable content for your marketing team on every channel for the next year. 15 second snippits captioned for instagram, long interviews played out for Facebook, and tons of :30s for paid ads. You can promote stills from the film and create images with quotes. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.


A documentary is about making a case just like you would in court, meaning you need to independently establish credbility. That doesn’t mean that you have to have the perfect expert, but someone who has credentials that are relevant and says your idea is a good one OR even questions your idea. That’s scary for CEOs and marketers to imagine, but when you answer your critics head on and tackle the more uncomfortable feelings that might come up, it tells the viewer that you’re willing to go all in, you have nothing to hide, and your intentions are to help. And if you’re making a documentary as a brand strategy, you are probably someone who thinks outside the box and is willing to show vulnerability which is more of a strength than a weakness. Especially when used in stories.


If you’re an organization doing a documentary then you probably are tackling an issue like PayActiv. They were tackling the issue of the timing of pay. But you have to personalize the issue. You have to tell personal stories. If you watch documentaries on Netflix then you’ll notice a pattern with the most successful films. They tell personal stories. People with the largest transformation are the most compelling. In “It’s About Time” we followed a number of people who were caught up in PayDay loans and at their brink but PayActiv not only helped them get out of their low place, but helped them thrive. Get personal! The viewer can relate to these people and they give your film the emotional depth it needs to be memorable.

Contact Our Filmmakers To Learn More