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Danversbank Brand Makes Sense with ‘Noggin’ and Fresh Copy

“We saw an opportunity to create something that really set us apart.”
— David Munroe,
SVP/Danversbank

The brand identity for Danversbank shuns the ubiquitous photos of smiley, happy, shiny people in exchange for a unique two-dimensional illustrated character affectionately named “Noggin.”

Noggin has grown to become the centerpiece of the bank’s brand, which features ironic and humorous Venn diagrams, pie charts and quirky messages — things not typically found in bank marketing.

Work on the Danversbank brand got underway in January 2009, and Noggin made his first debut a few months later.

“What we tried to do once we came up with the brand position was to integrate it into everything,” said Dave Munroe, SVP/Director of Marketing at Danversbank. “It really does reflect the personality of the people who work here.”

How’s that?

“We’re quirky, offbeat,” Munroe explained.

Munroe said Danversbank didn’t want the predictability of stuffy lifestage photos with standard, staid messages.

“We saw an opportunity to create something that really set us apart,” he said.

Noggin acts as the bank’s alter ego, spouting expressions that make sense, a deliberate attempt to reinforce Danversbank’s slogan, “Makes Sense.

“Now our employees channel the Noggin character,” Munroe said. “They wonder, ‘What would Noggin say?’”

The agency behind the Noggin concept, Fort Franklin, was showered with advertising awards for its work on the Danversbank brand. Fort Franklin has since been acquired by Connelly Partners.

Danversbank itself has also merged. In January 2011, People’s United announced it was buying the Boston bank as part of an on-going effort to expand its presence there.

The bank has nearly doubled its assets in the last few years. At the time it was acquired, Danversbank had around $2.7 billion in assets, 28 branches and 375 employees.

“Fort Franklin’s creativity and nontraditional approach is what attracted us to them. We wanted our advertising to better portray the bank’s personality, and there is no doubt that Fort Franklin has helped us do that—and to really stand out

It is unclear whether People’s United, whose brand is decidedly more traditional and subdued than Danversbank, will adopt the Noggin identity or phase it out. Hopefully this won’t be the swan song for Danversbank’s fresh brand image.

Getty Images | Content Marketing

Danversbank placed branded seat cushions on park benches,
in bus shelters and on trains around Boston. Street teams also
handed out cushions before every Red Sox game.

Sensors trigger a “cha-ching” sound effect whenever a person walks by the posters.

Getty Images | Content Marketing


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CUNA | Diamond Awards

Comments

  1. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the simplicity of the brand and the informality of their messages. I think our CU should take some cues from that.

    BUT, a two-dimensional talking head with a hinged skullcap and exposed brain is just, well, odd and a tad off-putting. Very distracting and uninviting.

    All advertising awards aside, I just don’t agree.

  2. Hi Matt,

    Thanks for the comment. I think the key ideas driving Danversbank’s brand identity are (1) fresh financial copy with style, tone and voice, (2) simplicity and clean design; and (3) the avoidance of smiley, happy lifestyle photos. Even if one dislikes their specific execution, there are still insights banks and credit unions can glean from their work.

    Good brands won’t appeal to everyone. This is where most financial institutions stumble. They try to engineer their brands in such a way that everyone is happy and no one is offended. What they end up with is bland, not a brand. No one notices because no one cares. As ad legend David Ogilivy said, “Try to appeal to everyone and you’ll end up appealing to no one.”

  3. Love, love, love these ads!!! They remind of the creativity we used to see in advertising in the 1980s when Fallon McElligott Agency ruled the ad world… and other agencies tried to copy their style. There’s a lot to say for simplicity in getting your message across. My favorite one of their ads? “Here’s a financial tip: Don’t buy things you can’t afford.” The sharpness of these ads compel me to be a better copywriter!

  4. Jennifer Spencer says:

    The first ad I saw from them was still my favorite, and I wish I’d taken a photo of it. They were putting in a location on Mass Ave in Boston next to a bakery known for its, shall we say, suggestive cakes. And the Danversbank ad said something to the effect of “We’re ‘the bank next to the naughty cake shop.'” It was funny and simple and hyperlocal. I’ve been a fan of them ever since. The pedicabs with bumper stickers were awesome, too. Hope to see more!

    Jennifer Spencer
    PerkStreet Financial

  5. Steve Topper says:

    I find the Danversbank branding campaign both unique and refreshing. One would like to think that senior management and the marketing team at People’s Republic will at least consider retaining Danversbank’s quirky branding campaign but the likelihood of this happening is slim to none. It’s the Not Invented Here problem that plagues so many organizations. A bigger concern of mine will be what happens to those customers with Free Checking and Free Rewards Checking at Danversbank. Will they keep their free checking accounts or suffer the same fate as the Washington Mutual free checking customers that found themselves at the mercy of Chase. While People’s Republic has one free checking account, it goes by the name of Plus Checking. I’d be concerned if I was enjoying Free Rewards Checking at Danversbank.

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