Santander: from bad to average in new WCRS campaign

I don’t know about you but I’m getting a bit fed up with over-solicitous banks, presenting themselves as though they’re some kind of Middle England social service.

I know they’ve been bastards in the past (and probably still are) and therefore need to show they ‘care.’ One way, of course, is to send lots of letters (most of which you probably don’t open after a while) saying: “Are you sure you want to pay for this service we’ve been selling you?” Which they’re busily doing to stave off the threat of further PPI mis-selling-type penalties.

Another is to produce a soupy John Lewis-lite ad campaign, like this one from Santander and agency WCRS.

Now Santander has a bit of previous here; its last campaign through former agency Havas was a true shocker, featuring its sporty brand ambassadors Jessica Ennis-Hill, Jenson Button and Rory McIlroy.

Havas paid the price although, presumably, Santander insisted on featuring the sports lot it had paid all that money to. But WCRS, among its other virtues, is street-wise; instanced by not allowing the celebs in until the ad’s halfway through and then not allowing them, McIlroy especially, to say anything. There’s even a red balloon – didn’t that used to be Santander’s brand thingie?

And the rest? Feelgood nonsense but just about rescued by a decent line to the effect that banking with Santander is ‘decent, personal and fair.’ It can also take a long time as Santander branches were once Abbey National building society branches – so that they don’t have enough counters for a high street bank. And their cash machines are notoriously unreliable….

Anyway, that’s enough grumps. Oh, one more: why spoil a good end line with the completely asinine sub-text ‘A bank for your ideas.’ What exactly does that mean?

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