Paul Nagy from VMLY&R & Union on why Consumers Don’t Care About Emotional Banking Ads

Banks spend too much time trying to play on consumers’ emotions and pretending to be part of the family, instead of marketing to them about what they actually care about.

This is the perspective of VMLY&R’s chief creative officer Paul Nagy, who said banks are a necessary evil whose ad campaigns are often insincere and eye-roll inducing. 

“You hate us, and yet we act like you are part of your family,” Nagy said on stage at Mumbrella’s Finance Marketing Summit.

“It’s all about ‘We’re saving you with helicopters, we care about your kids going through university, we’re a part of the family’…. Not only is that fundamentally not true, but if you said that to most Australians their eyes would roll back into their heads so far they would see their own spinal column, they just don’t believe it.”

Nagy, who works with client Bankwest, said the brand’s Bank Less platform was born from this idea, and the truth that Australians want to be less involved – not more involved – with their finance institutions. Subsequently, Bankwest and VLMY&R’s challenge was launching the platform in a genuine way in light of the Royal Commission.

“Banks are constantly overstating their role in people’s lives,” Nagy said. “What if we became the only bank that gives them what they really want? And we defined that as getting out of their way.



“People want to live, they don’t want to think about their bank. We’re a necessary evil.

“We want to play a better role in people’s lives by playing a smaller one,” Nagy explained.

Bankwest chief marketing officer Haylee Felton explained the first step was bringing every employee of Bankwest on board with the new mentality of Bank Less.

“It was really important that the brand had as much power internally as a rallying cry for employees, as it did as an articulation of what we were trying to achieve to our customers and our marketplace,” Felton said.

Felton also said the Royal Commission was a blessing in disguise for getting the company on board and pulling the campaign off.

“That was a blessing in disguise because we had the time and space to do that properly, so that by the time we did go to market with a bit more of a bang we not only had more support and comfort from our senior execs and leadership group, we had a frontline colleague team that were confident in explaining the platform and articulating what it meant to customers.”

Original article written by Zoe Wilkinson on Mumbrella, read the rest of the article here.



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