Venmo Wants to Turn Its Brand Into a Verb, Just Like Google

Cheeky campaign uses fill-in-the-blank messaging

Venmo wants to be used as a verb, too. Venmo
Headshot of Lauren Johnson

Google, Instagram and Netflix all have one thing in common: They are brands that have become so synonymous with the industries that they specialize in that they’ve become verbs.

PayPal’s Venmo wants in on that space too and it’s launching a campaign called “Blank Me” today that puts a fun twist on its peer-to-peer payment services that lets people send money to each other.

Each piece of creative features a sentence with a verb missing that leaves users to fill in the blank like a game of Mad Libs. Some of the lines are intentionally suggestive: There’s “Let’s not make it awkward, just ___ me,” and “If you ___ the wrong person tonight, you’ll regret it in the morning,” for example.

The ads are appearing in bars, restaurants and college towns in markets like Chicago, Miami, Nashville and Dallas—all places where people may need to send money to their friends while out and about. The campaign also includes digital ad buys across Tinder, Spotify, Facebook and Twitter.

According to Venmo marketing director Kasia Leyden, the campaign “embodies the spirit of Venmo and celebrates Venmo’s verb status and place in the zeitgeist.”

It’s a fun idea, even if Venmo’s goal of becoming ubiquitous with payments is a bit of a stretch. According to recent research from ACI Worldwide and Aite, 17 percent of U.S. consumers use their smartphone to purchase items, up from 6 percent in 2014. Elsewhere, 56 percent of consumers in India and 51 percent of consumers in Thailand surveyed said that they used their smartphone to make purchases.

@laurenjohnson Lauren Johnson is a senior technology editor for Adweek, where she specializes in covering mobile, social platforms and emerging tech.