This week, I've chosen a throwback to one of my favourite ads which scores 11/10 for originality. The brief for this campaign was to relaunch the First Direct brand to a new, younger audience of 25-34 year olds.
First Direct could be described as a trend setter; in their own words they are 'the pioneers of easy banking'. Launching their phone banking in 1989, they were over 20 years ahead of emerging banking brands like Monzo, formed of similar principles and practises. Being the original non high street bank, it's not surprising First Direct wanted a slice of this rapidly expanding market with a new ad targeting a younger audience.
I think the ad works well because after a couple of watches it appears to be jam packed with subtle metaphors, all designed to gently coax the target audience into seriously considering what this brand has to offer. Barry the Platypus himself is a great mascot in conveying the brand's message. Without shouting about how good First Direct is for him, his slightly unusual but still recognisable appearance, his familiar voice and easy going manner work really well in representing what the brand stands for.* Similarly, the bird that's been morphed into professional beat boxer adds a great deal to the brand's subliminal messaging. Although the idea of a small, feathery beat boxer is quite novel, it doesn't feel gimmicky to watch but rather natural and authentic perhaps conveying First Direct's concept as something that's a credible option in the long term despite the nature of the bank not being typically conventional.
However, although this ad does have many respectable attributes, the one thing I initially questioned was the evident lack of colour. I don't believe the use of black and white detracts from the ad itself but the opportunity for use of colour with the vinyl shop and the graffitied canal walls featuring could have created a new dimension to the narrative. Perhaps the decision was made for the monochromatic palette as a way of alluding to the straight forward nature of the brand. Or perhaps in an age of photo filters and colour enhancing, the tone was called upon to get away from what might usually be expected of an ad being shown through todays channels. Either way, it's clear a lot of creative thought went into this ad and the result is a rejuvenated brand image which no doubt attracted a broader range of customers to bank with it.
*Talking of Platypi, did I mention I manage the social media activities of the only platypus known to be living in the UK. Check out Patti's account and give her a follow:
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