TSB managed to get itself on TV remarkably quickly after the announcement of the National Bank/ANZ fusion with a message aimed directly at the customers who see the rebrand as an opportunity to switch. And, as expected, the rest of the banks were close behind with their own various overtures.
Westpac appears to be the only other bank to make it to TV so far, with a cheeky animated spot featuring a couple of brawling blue and green buildings and the line 'it's enough to make you see red'.
More than any of the other banks, ASB knows what it's like to say goodbye to a cherished mascot. So, along with continuing push towards Experience ASB ('thousands of Kiwis have switched to us, but we've still go plenty of room'), it decided to show its sensitive side and perhaps link itself with the premium cues of the National Bank by steering clear of desperate pleas for business and instead running a print ad mourning the loss of black beauty. Remarkably, life imitated art and Cody, the horse that had played the role of National Bank's horse, had to be put down last week.
Kiwibank has followed up the online hijack of the Money is Bad/Money is Good campaign with another digital push subtly asking customers who are rethinking their bank to rethink Kiwibank as well.
ANZ is obviously spending up large to announce the changes with its New Day campaign and focusing on assuring customers they'll still deal with the same staff. But this change is an interesting study in consumer psychology—and a tribute to the power of branding—because there are plenty of National Bank customers who only discover how much they liked the black horse after he's been taken away. And while changes to the switching rules in recent years have certainly made it easier for banks to sign customers up—and made it more viable for banks to advertise how easy it is to switch—it's still a pretty sticky relationship. It's getting less stickier, however, and ANZ will probably be pleased the proposed tweaks to the rules to allow payee information to be transferred when customers switch haven't taken place yet.