When we were collecting new copywriting stories for this month’s newsletter, we noticed a trend. Many of the most popular, effective and potentially controversial topics of the last four weeks revolved around ad campaigns by banks and building societies. Take a look and you’ll see what we mean:
Never mind the debates on Twitter about the same-sex couple and identical twins in some of NatWest’s latest ads – we’ve been much more interested in their use of ‘Uniproof’ as a word. The student-targeted campaign, to coincide with freshers’ weeks and the start of term, also makes use of video app Vine.
It’s a well-timed and important idea, with the feel of a new ‘teen slang’ approach to create understanding with their young adult audience. NatWest is also cementing their use of ‘uni’ as both short for ‘university’ and a prefix meaning ‘one’, with a single, customised student banking package and budgeting advice.
The ear-themed ‘your bank’ campaign from Barclays Retail Bank does have a very strong, simple visual element, but we think it’s the copywriting that really makes the ads work. Each of the five creative ideas is led by a question, with a different ear as a representation of each topic. It also fits perfectly with one of the main messages of the campaign – ‘We’re listening’.
We’re big fans of the straightforward and clear approach that Barclays has taken with these ads. The purpose of the campaign is to encourage feedback from their customers – starting a conversation and demonstrating genuine interest. A great follow-up campaign could be based around how Barclays has acted on responses.
Lloyds and TSB
Lloyds TSB is no more, with TSB becoming a separate entity under new ownership. As a result of the divide, the two banks are bringing out strong new identities to differentiate themselves.
Firstly, Lloyds has gone for a new microsite to reintroduce themselves. Claiming their new independence proudly as the ‘next chapter’, the approach focuses on stability and reassurance to maintain consumer confidence during the transition. The tone of voice is one of understated strength – perfectly suited to the brand and exactly what’s needed to make a smooth change.
TSB is ‘welcoming customers back to local banking’ with a warm and friendly campaign that aims to remind you of home. Tailored ads in towns and cities address their audience on a much more personal level with a simple ‘Hello’, emphasising the return of 630 TSB branches to local high streets. It’s definitely been important for the bank to distance themselves from Lloyds in this way, and hyper-local advertising is a great way to engage with consumers on their doorstep and emphasise ‘convenience’.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Finally, here’s one from outside of the UK – Bank of America and Merrill Lynch have merged, and just released their first integrated campaign as a single bank. A series of 30-second spots highlight enterprises and small businesses that the bank (‘our bank’) has supported to improve lives and protect the environment.
The strong and confident scripts are reassuring for customers. And we particularly like the wording of the second ad, ‘Liquid Assets’, which makes the best use of double meanings to heavily imply the bank’s financial stability. After a period of uncertainty in global banking, the message seeks to encourage customers to rebuild trust as well as their wealth.
We’ll have to wait and see whether a friendly greeting, a listening ear, a confident voice or a completely made up word is the secret to attracting new customers. If you’ve seen a banking advert – or any other – that caught your attention this month, let us know about it. Contact us by email (email@example.com) or tweet us (@strattoncraig).