Research Outline

Conversations Around Paycheck Protection Programs


To provide insights on paycheck protection programs focusing on aspects such as what the cultural conversations around PPP (paycheck protection program) are right now, and how the key players (Citibank, JPMC, Wells Fargo and local regional banks) are messaging around their services for PPP. To also provide insights on adjacent, related or even out of category examples of other public service announcement (PSA) type campaigns that witnessed significantly high cut-through rates.

Early Findings

  • Research indicates that paycheck protection program or PPP is one of the provisions intended to help small businesses that has been getting a lot of attention these days.
  • However, as noted by the Forbes magazine, the media attention around PPP has made these loans sound overwhelming.
  • Some questions answered by experts to help businesses understand the provisions center around aspects such as eligibility criteria, borrowing thresholds, payroll costs and taxes, collateral and personal guarantees, interest rates, areas of usage, etc.
  • According to the latest available data, published by CRISIL, over 80% of small businesses in the USA have already registered for paycheck protection loans.
  • One-third of the applicants have rated the application process as ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’. Nearly 40% of the businesses have rated the application process as ‘poor’.
  • More than 90% of the businesses are of the opinion that the paycheck protection program can be improved by faster loan approval, better communications about which businesses qualify, and simpler application process.
  • More than two-thirds of the businesses are not much confident about the effectiveness of the paycheck protection loans as tools to deliver the needed financial relief.
  • Among the key players, Citibank was the last to announce its paycheck protection program.
  • Citibank announced it would begin offering applications for the program on April 9th, 2020.
  • Bank of America was the only key player that allowed their customers to file applications immediately after the program was opened.
  • JP Morgan was the second key player to follow the suit.
  • The ‘More Than Mean’ PSA campaign, produced by One Tree Forest Films and Just Not Sports, won the annual Shorty Social Good Award.
  • The objective of the campaign was to increase awareness about online harassment, and change attitudes among media who cover sports and male fans who discuss sports online.
  • The campaign asked men to read internet comments directly to women sports reporters to make them hear, see and experience the shocking online harassment happening to women sportswriters/broadcasters every day.
  • The campaign roped in prominent sports reporters such as Sarah Spain from ESPN and Julie DiCaro from the Sports Illustrated/CBS.
  • In terms of success rates, the campaign generated 511 million media impressions in a week, 7 million video views, 260.2 million potential social impressions and 36,591 Twitter mentions.
  • A list of several other PSA ad campaigns that qualified to become finalists for the 1st annual Shorty Social Good Award can be found here.