Despite not going all out for a TV spot during the Super Bowl, Ally Bank made a solid play for viewers’ attention this year, launching an augmented reality app called Ally Big Save.

Customers downloaded the app before the Super Bowl to play the AR-enhanced game, which involved choosing something they were saving up for (i.e. a house, a car, grad school) and dragging as many floating bills as they could into a digital piggybank during the Super Bowl commercial breaks — a time when most brands dole out big bucks for extravagant ads.

The decision to put out a gamified app during one of the most competitive ad slots of the year was well-timed in more ways than one. Over 80 brands in L2’s Financial Services: App Store Optimization report offer at least one iOS app, collectively maintaining 227 distinct offerings. However, their place of prominence is increasingly at risk due to investment and savings apps like Acorn and Stash Invest. The time for disruption in the financial sector is ripe and if there’s any way to get a leg over legacy brands, it’s in the App Store.

Although Ally Big Save may not have been the star of the Super Bowl, it certainly drummed up a lot of buzz in the bleachers. Twitter’s #BrandBowl awarded the bank the Interception Award, signifying that Ally stirred up a bigger discussion than any other brand that didn’t air a national TV spot. Could this be the future of Super Bowl advertising?

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