Russian Bank Ads Are...Different
They've got sex dolls, exploding copiers, exploding Lenin's Tomb, a shitting pigeon mascot, and, Bruce Willis.
American bank ads are basically all the same. Boring, we’re here for you blah blah blah for us it’s personal blah blah blah look at the good things we do for the world blah blah blah. Not so in the Motherland.
Alfa Bank: “For The Smart And The Free”
A bland grey pigeon makes it ways around the perilous city as a bland song—at first sad, then slightly uplifting—plays. Finally, the pigeon joins five all-white pigeons (?) in flight as they form the “A” of the Alfa logo. The hero Pigeons drops a deuce on the Alfa billboard man’s head. To the press release:
“The spot for Alfa Bank features a pigeon. There’s nothing special about this pigeon; it’s ordinary and grey. Absorbed in the hustle of a big city, it lives a routine life and finally finds courage and inspiration to achieve its dreams (…) Even if you’re ordinary and grey, you have the power and courage to move forward, do more and fly higher (…) According to a Russian superstition, you’ll get richer if bird feces drop on you.”
The man on the billboard is Ivan Urgant, popular talk show host and the brand’s ambassador. Spot is from November. Ad agency: Voskhod, Ekaterinburg.
Tochka Bank: “Do What Only You Can Do”
There are about 75 separate shots in this quick-cutting :75 commercial. The actor is Yuri Kolokolnikov, known for Tenet, Game Of Thrones, and The Americans. Here, he is a majorly-overwhelmed business owner: He sings karaoke; his copier explodes; he’s crushed under an avalanche of boxes; he has a pet chameleon; He catches fire; A fly repeated bounces off his forehead; A SWAT team breaks into his office. Rough day. Finally, he clicks on “Tochka” and his thousands of Post-Its disappear and the message “Do What Only You Can Do” appears. Up, bank logo. Spot is from March. Ad Agency: Voskhod, Ekaterinburg. (In America, one agency could not advertise two different banks. Maybe they’re not competitors.)
TCS Bank: “From Now On We Will Act” (NSFW-ish—Sex Dolls)
(Click “Watch on YouTube” to view what is easily the most insane bank ad ever produced)
This commercial for TCS was created in 2011. If features hundreds of mannequins who seem to represent people being “sheep”.
At about the :20 mark, we sell female sex dolls lined up near a railroad track (this is why you can only watch the ad on YouTube).
At 1:05 a human woman appears and asks, roughly:
“Do know the difference between them and us? They live in a spider web, and we live on the internet. So from now on we will act.” (Thanks to a Russian friend for the translation)
Then, we see Lenin’s Tomb. Then, It blows up. Then Logo and Tag. The song is by Russian band “Kino” led by Viktor Tsoi—He sings the words “From now on we will act”. He died aged 28 in a car accident in 1990. Many Russians were not happy about TCS using Tsoi and his words as a tagline.
Trust Bank: Endorsed by American Patriot Bruce Willis.
Willis grew up about five miles from where I grew up. We’ve drank in the same shitty dive bars, possibly at the same time (He’s a bit older than me). Back in 2010-11, he was a no-show endorser for the Russian bank Trust.
Rough translations: L—”I’m cool, Bank Trust - too! R—”Trust - It’s like me, only it’s a bank!” Fucking brilliant. He was reportedly paid US$1 million a year for this no-work job.