Tuesday, June 10, 2008

It's Your Money Ralph

Three posts in three days.......It's a blogging frenzy!!!

This latest Commonwealth Bank campaign got me thinking.....how far off the mark are these guys and what really is a relevant insight for a banking customer?

And do you have to employ an american ad agency and feature the bloke who directed Transformers to bring that insight to life?

Maybe the client got sucked into the typical ad agency hype about how an ad has to be funny for it to be effective. I've had this shoved in my face so many times without any insight back to how the target is likely to respond to it in the context of what the brand is trying to say.

So here's the thing. 20 years ago the State Bank of Victoria created an amazing campaign that worked it's way into the vernacular with four words - "It's your money Ralph".

Two actors on a couch, with a newspaper prop, well directed and well written.

It's not funny. It's just true. And it struck a major chord.

Guess which bank owns the State Bank of Victoria now?


Jeffry Pilcher said...

I really don't care for the double-reverse psychology in the Commonwealth campaign. I'm an American, and I can tell you that THAT kind of ad wouldn't work in the U.S.

It's one of those art-imitating-life-imitating-art moments.

Furthermore, the ad's biggest problem is that it draws more attention to itself than it does to the advertiser paying for it. Sure, it gets talked about often, but people aren't talking about the bank. They're talking about the director and the koalas and Mad Max/Crocodile Dundee stereotypes.

It's like the bank is trying to say, "We're going to show you that we understand Australia by showing you the opposite of us." The trouble with this approach is that it can backfire.

In the parody spots, Commonwealth is trying to make the cliché American ad agency look like fools, but in real life, they are the ones that don't look so smart.

Why did they hire an American ad agency in the first place? It a self-indulgent, self-referencing, self-deprecating concept the best the agency could come up with?

I'm curious. What do you think about BankWest's "Happy Banking" campaign? I wrote a review of it here:

Jeffry Pilcher
Editor, The Financial Brand

Vando said...

Couldn't agree more jeffry.

Just checked out the Bank West ads. I've seen these on tv and haven't look at them as a marketer, only a disinterested punter. So up until now I thought they were a bit boring and I've never been bothered listening. So by the time it got to the point I'd lost interest. And I thought they looked a bit cheap.

But now that I'm analysing them as a marketer, I quite like them. They're clever, they have a strong point of difference, the campaign has cohesion.

What does that say about our/my ability to subjectively assess ads?!

Also, as pathetic as it sounds, I'm a westpac brand loyalist through and through - it's a good bank that I've been with all my life and don't ever expect to change. So all bank advertising is a bit like car ads - they only become relevant when you need to buy a new car.

Stanley Johnson said...

My radio had been silent for a while.
A couple of days ago it started to pick up a very faint signal.
That signal is now booming loud, clear and in stereo. Welcome back MMM.
Now if only you could do something about the breakfast show.

Scamp said...

Be funny. Get noticed. Be liked.

That's it.

Advertising isn't a science, and far too many people are paid to pretend it is.

The Commonwealth Bank campaign will work really well, despite the lack of rational consumer benefits, because no one gives a shit about rational consumer benefits except marketers!

People just go with whatever brands they have good feelings about. They almost never research anything, even high ticket items like cars. They haven't got time, and can't be bothered.

They even decide to buy a million dollar house about 30 seconds after walking in. Just a feeling. A whim. We're only human.

Sorry about that!

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