Today's Bank Ads Are An Embarrassment And I'm Here For It
You know you want to see David Schwimmer make a complete ass of himself.
I’m only posting a few recent bank ads that are uniquely embarrassing. Most of the Big Bank ads are, yes, embarrassingly bad but they’re also similarly boring as fuck, and not worth talking about.
NOTE: The headline style above is directly ripped off from BuzzFeed, who has done irreparable damage to the art of media headline writing.
Lloyds Bank (UK)
The $50 billion bank is very old and its black horsey icon is even older. It means nothing, just fyi. Go to their Wikipedia page if you’re interested in the boring back story. There, you’ll also find the usual suspect shit that all Big Banks get involved in: arms trade, tax fraud, etc.
But they love their black horsey. They’ve been sticking it in their ads forever, because everybody likes horsies. Here, they stick in a bunch of black horsies, many of them fake digital black horsies. Their YouTube note on this ad:
“Watch our latest advert, that brings our iconic black horse into the heart of daily life, demonstrating our continued commitment to families, businesses, and communities across Britain.”
I’m not really feeling the connection between the stampeding horsies and their “continued commitment”. The horsies run through yards, a soccer field, a park, etc. Near the end, the lead black horsey stops to greet a girl. It looks like she feeds the horsey something. They connect (THIS is the commitment moment, I guess). Then, the only copy line:
“At Lloyds Bank, we will always be by your side.”
That’s really not much of claim, or a benefit, or anything at all unique about a bank. But hey: BLACK FUCKING HORSIES. TV ad from February. Ad agency: adam&eveDDB, London.
Bank Of America
Here, America’s bank shits out a bus covering ad that tries to show us New Yorkers that they get us New Yorkers. This “using anonymous passengers to represent copy points” thing has been done on buses many times before, all of them—even the unclever ones—more cleverly than B of A did here.
“Digital tools so impressive, you just can’t stop banking”. Non-stop banking. Who the fuck wants that. And what customer would want to tell you: “Yes, I am in fact heading to an ‘impossibly trendy restaurant’”.
I would like to have “the power” to burn this ad off this bus with my laser eyes. (Photo taken by author last week in Da Heights.)
I admittedly am not up to date on the latest FinTech, but I’m pretty sure this (stock photo of a) young man is not, at that moment, banking—even though he is holding a (photoshopped) phone. But I’m sure Gen Zers (who don’t read newspapers) were completely enamored with this edgy-as-fuck visual and immediately transferred any money they had to Virgin. Ad from January. Ad agency: BWM isobar.
TSB Bank (UK)
What up, David Schwimmer! America misses your lame ass. Good to know you’re making lame-ass British bank ads. From the ad agency press note:
“(Schwimmer) gives the brand personality and warmth; celebrating everyday pleasures through a "real-world" lens. The film shows Schwimmer on a tenacious quest to show TSB customers that savings really can sneak up on them…”
He “disguises” himself as a massage chair, a sunglasses rack, and a painting to sneak up on people to demonstrate that TSB Bank will give you “savings that sneak up on you”. BWA-HA, that’s so goddamn funny. Brilliant concept, McCann London. TV ad from January.
Lastly, I have to include this “empowering” promotion by ForteBank even though it’s from 2019. The press note, paraphrased:
“The bank produced FORTE FEMME perfume, and distributed the fragrance to prominent female entrepreneurs throughout the country, encouraging them to daub their cash with it. And now the scented banknotes in circulation are being dispensed at ATMs across the nation.”
They also gave the women pink cash register tape. This was some maximumly insulting “Pinkification”. Ad agency: Voskhod, Moscow.