Banks Change Advertising MO: Convenience Out, Security In

We don’t care if they have a live puppy cam, we’re putting the five cents we have left under our mattress.

(Well, ok, maybe if they had a live puppy cam…)

FT: “For the first time, banking is not based on convenience any more, it’s based on security – who is running the company, how well they have performed – and transparency,” says Laurence Boschetto, president and chief operating officer of DraftFCB, part of the Interpublic group of marketing agencies.


…A new sobriety was demonstrated by UK bank Halifax, which retired Howard, its singing bank manager. Barclaycard, which has used comedy stars such as Rowan Atkinson and Jennifer Saunders in its ads, has also changed tack with an emphasis on ease of use.

Lloyds TSB began to tackle the issues raised by the Northern Rock crisis in its advertising several months ago. Now its message that it is “Britain’s most trusted bank” has even greater resonance.

“It’s remarkable that it has to run an ad like that,” says Sir John Hegarty, creative director at advertising agency BBH. “It’s a measure of the concern that people feel.”

And don’t think rebranding if the panacea.

For those banks that do elect to draw a line under the past year with a new identity, Andersen Consulting’s transition to Accenture in 2000 remains a rare example of success amid the short-lived Monday and Consignia rebrandings by PwC Consulting and Royal Mail respectively.

But Teresa Poggenpohl, Accenture’s executive director for advertising and brand management, says that the consultancy doubled its ad spending after the relaunch. “Failed rebrandings are all too often underfunded.”

She adds that a rebranding will fail if it is merely a new veneer over old practices. “Branding is not cosmetic. The actions that companies take are proof to the consumer that there is a change.”

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