Magazine article Marketing

Adwatch 08.07.09: Santander

Magazine article Marketing

Adwatch 08.07.09: Santander

Article excerpt

Information-heavy ad risks diluting its core message with a distracting Formula One theme.

I've had an account with the Abbey for 30 years. Before it was a bank, and before it dropped the word 'National' from its name. I have a relationship with it.

As its former self, elements of the brand - The Abbey Habit, couples under the security of 'roof-umbrellas' - appealed enough to convince me to invest a modest amount with it, then borrow loads from it.

Now it is well on its way to removing the word 'Abbey' and replacing it with the name of a Spanish port. I doubt that I am the only customer who is now feeling a distinct lack of engagement with what was once a very trusted British institution.

But it's not daft. It must know this. So how is it addressing such a fundamental issue?

In its latest TV spot, it is promoting its sponsorship of Lewis Hamilton and the McLaren Formula One team. The commercial features a mini-Lewis driving a heavily branded car around a Scalextric track, while a voiceover delivers a heady strategic cocktail guaranteed to answer any questions its loyal customers might have. We are informed that Santander is one of the world's strongest and safest banks, that it has 90m customers, that Abbey is part of it, that you can get 6% interest fixed for 12 months on a new account, and that you can get similar great accounts at Alliance & Leicester (which is now also part of Santander).

But the phrase that really stood out in this execution was that it has 'a prudent approach to banking'. …

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