Save To Win
A 2015 Pew Charitable Trust survey found that 41% of American families would struggle to cover just $2000 in unplanned expenses—roughly equal to the cost of repairing a broken down family vehicle, taking a cross-country trip to visit an ailing loved one, or an unexpected emergency room visit. Millions of Americans are one tragic incident away from severe financial hardship. Recent political events, such as the repeated threat of government shutdowns and the passage of President Trump’s tax plan, illustrate the depth to which a culture of debt and financial recklessness has permeated our society at all levels.
The site at Times Square is ground zero for American “debt culture” and an ideal location for the bank tower intervention. The Save to Win bank seeks to redirect the forces of consumption by manipulating and amplifying the incentives for saving through the use of prize-linked savings accounts. These accounts collect deposits, similar to typical savings accounts, but instead of returning negligible amounts of interest to account holders at the end of each month, this bank aggregates the total interest of all accounts and awards it in the form of prizes to a select few. Account holders give up interest in exchange for a chance to win a large prize, leveraging the appeal of a lottery-style payout to persuade people to save. The more money you save, the higher your chances are to win.
Borrowing the imagery and symbolism of carnivals, game shows, and the signage of consumption in Times Square, the bank’s spectacle uses these associations and the visual vocabulary of consumption and entertainment against themselves to outcompete the drivers of a predatory culture of debt.
The bank’s viewing platform, which stands out as a stark silhouette on the Manhattan skyline, serves as its greatest advertisement. The platform displays the prize to be won in the next drawing. On prize night, spotlights around and in the legs of the tower illuminate all of Times Square in a pulse of color. The prize pod then begins its downward journey 1300 feet over Times Square. The winner’s name is announced above the ruckus of Times Square as the prize touches the ground. The winner is presented with the prize and is then whisked away through the cheering crowds.
Project entered into the 2018 Evolo Skyscraper competition: