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UBS says sorry in Publicis campaign to reassure private investors

Switzerland’s venerable UBS bank took a huge hit in the credit crunch, writing off SFr60bn ($58bn) and losing SFr $200bn of customer deposits. This last exodus was caused in part by the US government demanding and getting hitherto confidential information on account holders at the bank.

So the bank is fighting back with a TV campaign from Publicis with the theme ‘we will not rest,’ and to prove the point showing, among other incidents, a banker rushing out in the middle of a haircut, presumably to deal with a client issue that has just occurred to him.

Maybe this is not the happiest choice, a ‘haircut’ in banking parlance meaning taking a loss on a deal.

The campaign also features new boss Oswald Grubel, former head of UBS rival Credit Suisse, musing on why he was talked out of retirement. Apparently Ossie wanted to do his bit for the ‘thousands’ of hard-working people at UBS who weren’t responsible for losing all that money.

The ads are glossily slick, with a big emphasis on the investment Nirvana of China, but rather redolent of the stock photos you see in print corporate ads. They also include most of the corporate cliches known to man including ‘walk the talk.’

Still at least they’re trying (although it would have been more interesting with a few ugly, harassed bankers really suffering and swearing at each other).

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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