There's been no shortage of action in bankland recently, with agency shifts galore and fairly sizeable profits being announced by the big boys that could potentially lead to some fairly enthralling market-share battles this year. And one of the big ones is set to be between ASB and ANZ.
While ASB's 'Creating Futures' got off to a fairly rough start, it seems to have found its groove with the Experience ASB campaign and Dame Judi Dench is back behind the mic once again in a series of ads concocted by Droga5 and shot by 8com that push both its range of financial trinkets and its newly refreshed website.
It's tough to get customers to switch banks. For many, it's one of those relationships that often seems to be placed in the 'I hate you and you're sneaky, but I can't be bothered with all the hassle of changing so I'll just keep being bitter about it' basket. But ASB has made a concerted effort to steal customers off other banks—and engage with its existing customers—by offering a full online test-drive across its suite of innovations.
Shane Evans, acting general manager brand and marketing, says the success of the first phase of the campaign, which was launched last October, has led to this and it builds on what worked and has tweaked aspects that needed tweaking.
"We wanted to show New Zealanders what sets apart ASB from our competitors and motivated them to switch their everyday accounts to ASB. So far we’ve seen a significant increase in the number of people switching to ASB and closing down their accounts with their former bank. We’ve also seen very good growth both in Auckland and out of Auckland, reflecting our strong position as a nationwide bank."
He says the latest phase is a bigger, broader campaign that reveals more about everyday banking with ASB, including home loans, rural banking services, business and private banking.
"Underlying all of this is the message that switching to ASB is simple," Evans says. "We’ll sort out all the tricky details and time consuming bits. All people need to do is get in contact with us."
One of the three new ads features a nice piece of piss-takery and self-deprecation (Z anyone?), which shows ASB has a good—and some might say surprisingly uncommon—grasp of what consumers actually think about their bank. And, as unashamed lovers of visual puns, we quite like the dedicated personal switcher ad too.
ASB, which started using Google+ late last year, has a good rep for its customer service and is already recognised as a leader in social media innovation (it's the only New Zealand bank represented on the Financial Brand Top 35 Banks on Facebook and Top 35 Banks on Twitter and in October it was awarded the Service Innovation Award in the 2011 BAI-Finance Global Banking Innovation Awards for the Virtual Branch on Facebook).
ANZ, however, is pretty much at the opposite end of that spectrum, according to Roy Morgan. But it's putting plenty of effort into changing that perception and it seems to be working: ANZ was awarded the Sunday Star-Times Canstar Cannex Bank of the Year in 2011 and won the Roy Morgan customer satisfaction award in Australia recently. It was also responsible for almost one third of the total media spend in the financial sector last year (some believe this increase is to prepare for the ensuing departure of the ANZ-owned National Bank).
After running Australia's 'I know what you're thinking' Mentalist ads for a few months, ANZ and TBWA\ have recently launched its first locally-produced campaign into the market, with a couple of ads featuring actors awkwardly getting out of the way of flying animated objects and popping temptation bubbles.