Sales & Marketing

The ten best bank adverts of all time

5 min read

24 March 2016

Former deputy editor

They’ve been accused of poor interest rates and snubbing businesses, but you can always rely on banks for great advertisements. We’ve rounded up ten of the finest promotions to grace British and American TV screens.

What have we learned from modern marketing campaigns? Do not anger fashion lovers, do create a brand identity, do not be sexist, and do embrace mobile – Facebook says so.

And how about attitudes towards banking and payments? Well, a decline in lending from the institutions resulted in the arrival of fintech startups and alternative finance providers.

With technologies such as contactless commonplace, it’s clear that banks and retailers must be sure to support them.

“Contactless has moved from novelty to normal in little more than four years – retailers still on the side-lines without a strategy to accommodate this technology could be left in the dust and risk of driving loyal customers away,” said Dave Hobday, UK MD of Worldpay.

But looking back to the past – and present – we’ve reviewed the ten best bank adverts of all time to see what has been done to captivate viewers.

(1) NatWest – Cash machine

While cash is rapidly becoming a thing of the past in today’s world, it was a different story back in 1991. NatWest’s ad boasted just how accessible customers’ money was at the time with cash machines dotted across the country. Take a look and remember how ill-fitting clothes were back then.

(2) Halifax – Extra extra

Remember Howard Brown? How about interest? In 2000, Halifax had one of its customer service reps become the face of the brand. Who can forget the Extra extra song he performed to the tune of Tom Jones’ Sex Bomb? That’s right, it’s all coming back to you now. Sorry.

(3) Barclays – Barclaycard waterslide

Barclays captured imaginations with its Barclaycard waterslide in 2008, with viewers worldwide imaging the glory of commuting via waterslide. Despite running eight years ago, the bank was ahead of its time and used the promo as a means of promoting convenience with contactless payments.

How to promote a product in a saturated and traditionally unsexy industry

(4) Lloyds – 250th anniversary

Marking its 250th year of operation last year, Lloyds embraced the iconic black horse from its logo and captured a series of scenarios featuring the gallant animals. With Birdy performing Wings as the backing track, the promo was named the most Shazammed advert.

(5) HSBC – It’s never just business

Many a Hollywood film or TV show will leave you believing that personal attacks in the corporate world is “just business”. HSBC has a different philosophy, as demonstrated in this through-the-ages ad released in 2015.

Continue reading on the next page to find out what Lloyds did for 2016 and memorable marketing campaigns from US banks.

Image: Shutterstock

(6) Lloyds – For your next step

Lloyds is seemingly on a mission to gallop to marketing glory. For its 2016 advert, the bank has harnessed (no pun intended) its iconic black horse once more for a campaign that recognises customers have real lives by highlighting key milestones, including child birth and engagement. Don’t worry though, Lloyds will provide the cash for you to buy some nappies.

(7) JP Morgan Chase – Mastering banking

Doing things in style, Chase had Serena Williams enlisted for its master campaign. While it took the tennis superstar years to master her craft, it took just moments to master banking with Chase – see what it did there?

(8) Bank of America – Pick up hope

A partner of the Special Olympics, Bank of America delivered a heartfelt message to encourage hope and determination. The bank followed Chevi Peters who, against all odds, beat off almost 40 surgeries to compete as a powerlifter and win three gold medals.

(9) Capital One – Samuel L. Jackson

Seemingly caught in-between filming a couple of movies, Capital One bagged Samuel L. Jackson to promote its Quicksilver card. Well, what’s in your wallet?

(10) Apple – Apple Pay

While it may not be a bank, Apple is everywhere – whether it’s in smartphone, tablet, watch or computer form. And in 2015, the brand reminded everyone just why it’s so important, brandishing the high-profile partners using its Apple Pay service while boasting to be more secure than credit cards.

If you fancy getting some exposure, here are six ridiculous publicity stunts businesses can learn from.