Special Group and TSB embrace nudity, implied stealing and alien life forms in ‘New to Earth’ campaign

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Youtube VideoASB had Goldstein. ANZ has The Mentalist. The National Bank has a Black Stallion. And now, thanks to Special Group and The Sweet Shop, TSB Bank has an old alien.

In what coud be seen as an inter-stellar version of Goldstein, who came to New Zealand from the US to see what made that bank different, or an advertising version of Mork and Mindy, the new TSB campaign charts the journey of a man who has just fallen to Earth and does what anyone who has just fallen to Earth would do: question the principles of modern banking.

Whether it be the Speight’s guys, Goldstein or Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman in Rainman, Special Group’s Tony Bradbourne says the double act is a classic advertising/comedy/filmic device that works well because it’s a great way to explain things. And, by reversing the father son premise, it adds a point of difference.

The commercials, which were directed by The Sweet Shop’s Stuart McDonald (director of Summer Heights High) and award-winning director of photography Stefan Discoid, build on the bank’s position as ‘New Zealand’s most recommended bank’. But while the last iteration was based around who existing customers should recommend the bank to (gym grunters, no; stroller picker uppers, yes), it has now decided to focus on the reasons why it has earned that moniker, such as its no fees stance and the fact that it has been voted best bank for customer service for ten years, amongst other things.

“All the research we’ve seen from the campaign has shown that it’s really pushed TSB up in terms of being well-known and being liked,” he says. “Now we’re pushing on really strong facts. Most bank ads are pretty safe or pretty crap. And I think these are pretty sweet.”

The ads feature veteran actor Roy Billing, who recently won an Australian Film Institute award for his role as Aussie Bob in Underbelly, in the role of the naive but strangely insightful alien and rising Kiwi star Tainui Tukiwaho as the chap who teaches him the ways of the financial world.

“What we’re trying to do is establish really likable characters for this campaign and sustain continued viewing,” he says.

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