Bank advertising, You’re doing it wrong

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Every time I see or hear an advertisement for a bank, either in print, on television, or on the radio, I’m struck with the same thought: whoever is masterminding (most of) these campaigns is taking the wrong tack.

Fact: Everyone hates banks. We hate the hours, the slow service, the low interest rates we earn, and especially the fees.

Why then, I ask, do bank ads primarily focus on things we are not concerned about, e.g. FDIC insurance, rewards on credit cards and free checking? No one worries about their savings account anymore because the federal government insures it. No one really cares about credit card rewards because they are so widespread, and almost everyone has free checking. As such, these pieces aren’t really telling us anything we don’t know, and thus, not motivating any action.

If they really wanted to get our attention, banks would start advertising extended hours, improved customer service, and a reduction in stupid fees. While some financial institutions are promoting these benefits, most are not, primarily due to the fact that it would require some fundamental shift in current policy.

And while many bankers (conservative people by nature), may be reluctant to change their policies in order to improve their marketing efforts, I have no doubt that their current campaigns yield very little return, other than perhaps promoting the institution in a general way. And if this is the sole benefit of running “free checking” ads, wouldn’t they be better served with less emphasis on message, and more on branding?

Idea for television spot:
Wide angle shot of devastation from hurricane, silent except for wind and cries of seagulls. Slowly pan in on one building, seemingly untouched amid the clutter. It’s (Bank name) Bank. Fade to Black, (Bank name) Bank appears in white letters on black screen.

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