I’m thinking that ANZ and TBWA\ have launched a new ad campaign

After the drama of the recent ANZ pitch, where Whybin\TBWA\ Melbourne took ownership of the account and ousted Kiwi incumbent DDB, everyone was interested to see what the big creative idea that supposedly won the day was. Now you can judge for yourself, because the bank’s first global ad campaign, which features Aussie actor Simon Baker in character as The Mentalist’s Patrick Jane, has been launched in Australia and Asia, with New Zealand soon to follow.

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The campaign has received mixed reviews in Australia and, unusually, the lips of TBWA\ in New Zealand were closed, even those of the bank whisperer himself, Dave Walden, who’s currently in Melbourne. But ANZ said in a statement the campaign “supports its super regional strategy and continues the evolution of ANZ’s brand as customer centric and uncomplicated”.

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TBWA\ Melbourne has stuck with the ‘We Live in Your World’ tagline and brought in the character of Jane, who “uses his keen powers of observation, deduction, and knowledge of social engineering coupled with his genius to help lead the investigation” in the show, to tell you what you’re thinking and what the bank does to make your life easier.

Joyce Phillips, a woman with a very long job title (ANZ group managing director strategy, M&A, marketing and innovation) says Jane “knows what people are thinking because he lives in their world. He’s an observer of life and that’s what we strive to be” (of course, as ASB can probably attest, banks that try to become too matey, insert themselves in customer’s lives and portray themselves as loving, caring friends is usually pretty creepy). This makes him the “ideal personification of ANZ’s brand as insightful, sophisticated, worldly but with a strong connection to Australia”.

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The problem, however, is that Baker is a fairly well-recognised Aussie actor playing a character from a reasonably popular US TV show and speaking in an American accent, so it’s possibly not quite as uncomplicated (or Aussie-focused) as they’d all hoped. And, judging by the Twitterati’s response, there has been quite a bit of confusion so far (someone’s even made a spoof video).

Still, as Phillips says, the evolution of the brand through this campaign “reflects a need for a globally consistent campaign that supports our super regional strategy,” and using an easy-on-the-eye celebrity (or, more accurately, a the fictional character he plays) is a good way of crossing borders.

“It will help build awareness and relevance of ANZ in our key emerging markets while reinforcing what it is that makes us different from other banks,” she says. “This campaign is an exciting step forward in a journey we began 18 months ago with the launch of our new brand. This new campaign shows how we understand the needs of our customers, providing insights and delivering ideas that help people progress.”

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