A BANKER GETS picked up by a client, Belinda, at an airstrip somewhere near Upington and spends a couple of days getting to know her business and the needs of the region. Belinda runs a successful chicken farm with 16 000 birds and raises pigs on the side.
The banker, Hamesh, is bringing new life and relevancy to the FNB question: How can we help you? In previous ads the question was answered with analogies that had nothing to do with banking.
But the first commercial for the bank by newly appointed ad agency DDB South Africa is actually a short documentary about relationship banking, says agency CEO Glen Lomas. "We're not here to help you cross the road but to manage your money and grow your wealth. Relationship bankers are really going out and meeting people. This ad records a true-life occurrence. These aren't actors but real clients and people employed by the bank. The conversation is real. You can believe it when he says we can help Belinda with cellphone and online banking."
The strategy was implemented at the suggestion of the agency, one of two small shops recently appointed to handle FNB's R300m/year advertising account. MetropolitanRepublic handles the branding, DDB the product advertising.
The previous incumbent was Draftfcb, SA's second biggest agency group.
Says Lomas: "We have 50 products we could talk about, including mortgages, e-bucks and mobile products that we aim to match to client needs. Research shows the public has very negative perceptions about banks, using words such as hate and evil. We want to demonstrate the benefits in a human way. We don't want to make ads about going to the pub but to go out and document what bank staff are doing. Then you have a campaign that really means something."