Mighty oaks from little acorns grow


Acorns is a free smartphone app which allows users to round up spare change from daily purchases and invest lump sums into investment portfolios.

Dubbed the new millennial savings and investing strategy, the micro investing platform provides a unique, low entry-point for anyone to start saving and investing.

Following a successful American launch, Australia was selected as the first market outside the US to have access the app, due to high levels of smartphone use.

The challenge to Howorth was:

  • Deliver a communications campaign to create awareness that the app coming to Australia
  • Deliver 5,000 registrations for the beta-testing phase of the app
  • Deliver 50,000 downloads of the app in the six months following launch


Our campaign began with an announcement of the partnership between Instreet Investments Limited and Acorns Grow, Inc. to bring the app to Australia.

To maintain momentum, we developed a research paper looking at the savings habits of Australians, revealing the majority of young Australians are struggling to save. The research documented behavioural and social changes related to wealth and finance, while introducing an alternative to tried and tested methods of investment – the Acorns app.

When the app was launched, we brought Acorns’ director of international strategy to Australia for media engagements alongside Acorns Australia Managing Director George Lucas.  As well as using Acorns talent, we worked with independent technology and finance experts who endorsed the app and how it removes traditional barriers to investment such as high costs/fees and in-depth knowledge of the financial sector.


The campaign exceeded all targets.

  • The pre-launch PR campaign generated huge interest from Australians, with 26,000 pre-launch registrations against a target of 5,000.
  • When the app was officially launched it achieved 50,000 downloads in just three weeks, smashing the target of 50,000 downloads in a six month period.

So, how did we do this?

We identified the most influential technology and finance journalists, and ensured that they knew about the key points of Acorns’ journey into the Australian market.  This created a steady flow of media coverage which linked strategically to the Acorns business strategy.

We took the Acorns story to mainstream media by identifying and building stories from an insight that most Australians can identify with – the struggle of not being able to adequately save for the future.

This approach saw our campaign generate over 200 pieces of media coverage with highlights including Chanel 7, Sky News, ABC News, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Australian, Australian Financial Review and Mashable.

Most importantly, the campaign supported the successful launch of Acorns by delivering a huge number of app downloads, which sets more Australians up for future financial success.