Britain’s much-derided banks try to make us like them again with TV ad blitz

Yesterday we looked at Nationwide’s new ad aiming a polite kick at rival banks (Nationwide is a mutual) while remarking that the aforementioned banks are sticking their heads above the parapet at last following the well-deserved beating they took for helping to consign us to four years of economic despond (the real blame lay with American sub-prime mortgage lenders).

Here’s an interesting new ad from RBS-owned Nat West for its mortgages – presenting the loveable old Nat West as Nat Yes, the benevolent agent that gets you out from under the feet of your parents.

It verges on the sick-making early on (agency M&C Saatchi has a pronounced tabloid streak) but just about gets there in the end.

Meanwhile Barclays has been running loads of ads from BBH (BBH doesn’t do tabloid) which, strangely, succeed in presenting the bank (widely depicted as the first and last refuge of all sorts of financial scoundrel) as rather a nice organisation; one that (as with Nat West) oils the grinding wheels of family life. Here’s one of them:

If the sub-text of both – that you can’t rear a family successfully without the good offices of your bank – is a touch alarming, you have to admire them as cunning examples of the adman’s art.

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About Stephen Foster

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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.