What makes successful financial advertising

Recently, I had a new bank client ask about our most successful financial advertising campaigns, and what made them successful. That got me to thinking about all the campaigns we’ve done over the years. In the end, the campaigns that reaped extraordinary results all seemed to have one of two things in common:

    1.  They were not “safe”. In other words, the creative was out of the box, and not what you would call traditional bank advertising. For instance, we created a radio campaign directed at a younger demo, which featured a young guy ranting about never having any money. It had people coming into the bank “just because they liked the advertising.”

Another exceedingly successful campaign utilized a hometown personality who represented the bank, and told stories about silly things in everyday life that we could all relate to. (Over two years, the bank ended up tripling their number of monthly account openings.)

Finally, there was the credit union TV campaign with talking pigs. In actuality, it was one pig that we cloned and used some brilliant special effects. But the credit union website was bombarded with traffic the first entire year the campaign ran (not to mention the spectacular results on terms of deposits and loans.)

  1. The products were not “safe.” Rather, they were very aggressive. They offered high rates on checking when others did not. Rates high enough to get people to move. There was no start or end date, and no long list of requirements. Instead, the rates were held until the bank or CU decided to lower them.  And at that point, the customers generally stayed because no one was offering a dramatically better rate.

Does that mean you can’t be a successful financial institution if you’re conservative?   Of course not. Financial institutions do it every day. But if you’re looking to skyrocket to the top, make your mark among a sea of competitors, or win an Effie award, the safe way won’t likely do it. After all, as an old friend of mine used to say, the Safe Way is a grocery store.