Lloyds takes the Groucho Marx approach to banking

Most agencies would die for a big bank account (that’s a big bank ad account) and then, if they land one, probably die a lingering death as they tried to persuade the client to engage with its audience in a way that didn’t drive them even further up the wall.

Someone told me the other day that they bought BBH’s work for Barclays exemplified this gruesomeness although I think that’s wrong. The agency seems to be working manfully to find some things to say about Barclays that won’t get the sans-culottes marching on Canary Wharf (the address is 1 Churchill Place if you must): far from easy.

We’ve rehearsed Santander’s embarrassments here and even RKCR/Y&R breakaway Joint’s efforts for the new TSB (still owned by Lloyds until its IPO), while praiseworthily to the point, lack sparkle – although maybe that’s the Joint point.

The main Lloyds account has been with Y&R for a long time now and it’s stepped out of character with this launch for its new Club Lloyds account, which offers quite a few benefits if you pay your salary in. Groucho Marx, you’ll remember, said he wouldn’t join a club that would have him as a member.

And it’s nicely done, with the clever voice stuff by the Rufus Leonard agency. But if you read Neil Christie’s article on how advertising really works you’ll see that this, indeed nearly all bank ads, mostly lack the attributes (chiefly emotional) that Professor Byron Sharp reckons define effective advertising. Something for the bankers to chew on perhaps.

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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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