Creative Showcase: Fresh Marketing Concepts in Banking

Here are a dozen advertising, marketing and branding projects from banks and credit unions around the world that caught The Financial Brand's eye.

Switch Kit in a Can

Umpqua’s wanted to engage potential customers to switch banks in a fun and unique way. Umpqua introduced a simple program to switch accounts by completely customizing vending machines and stocking them with free bank Switch-Kits-In-A-Can that were placed them in in all types of locations around the northwest.


Umpqua also transformed an old traditional truck into the one-of-a-kind Bank Account Moving Truck. To take the hassle out of switching, the team drove all around the nothwest to “take all the heavy lifting out of moving accounts.” Agency: Creature.


24-Hour Ad Buyout

To raise awareness of its round-the-clock customer service, Norwegian Bank DNB bought every single ad break for 24 hours on Norway’s biggest TV channel, TV2. It then filled the space with user-generated content.

The bank, working with agency Try/Apt, invited Norwegians to film and share their best advice on anything they could think of. The videos range from a little girl with a black eye warning you not to play with the shopping carts at Ikea, to a mother warning husbands not to stray. DNB received more than 3,000 clips and chose to air roughly a third of them, creating over two-and-a-half hours of content.

According to the bank’s case study awareness of DNB’s 24-hour customer service rocketed from 35% to 72% across Norway.


Open for Columbus Day

On Monday October 13, most banks in the U.S. were closed for Columbus Day. Not the Bank of Ann Arbor. Early that morning, they sent the following tweet:

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Now if you don’t live in Michigan or Ohio, this tweet might not seem all that interesting. But to residents of Michigan (and Ohio), this simple tweet was another shot fired in a bitter, long-standing rivalry between the two state’s major universities: the University of Michigan Wolverines and The Ohio State University Buckeyes.

The Ohio State University is located in a city called Columbus. Bank of Ann Arbor figured if there is a holiday sharing the name of its archrival’s hometown, they aren’t going to recognize it: “We’ll stay open in protest, so neener, neener!”

The tweet represents the kind of locally-focused campaign Bank of Ann Arbor has been running for a while now, laden with insider jokes only locals would understand. It’s very smart for community-based institutions to be aggressive with the one trump card they hold: local connections.

The tweet was shared nearly 1,800 times and favorited almost as often. According to the bank, it generated 2.5 million impressions. It also ignited a whirlwind of free PR for the bank. Notable media outlets like Fox, ESPN and CBS covered the story, along with numerous other articles in local publications. Sheer marketing brilliance.

‘I’m An Actor Hired By a Bank’

In this series of commercials, Nordnet hires an actor to tell you he’s an actor hired by the bank. “Hello, I’m an actor,” the script begins. “I’ve been paid $8,000 to tell you how great Nordnet is compared to other banks. They chose me because I’m more handsome than their real CEO. I read from a prompter on top of a camera. It says Nordnet has lower fees, a better platform, and that they push less of their own products.” The commercials are intended to send a message about the bank’s commitment to transparency.


Disclosures Are Icky

This ad for Ally Bank shows a rather serious businessman pointing at an asterisk floating in air. “I don’t know what that thing is, but keep it away from my money,” he says in the headline. Ally promises “no asterisks, just straightforward banking.” It’s part of Ally’s overarching brand message: managing money should be simple and straightforward. You can see a couple more disclosure-free ads from Ally below.

If a bank as big as Ally with over $100 billion in assets can find a way to run ads without disclosures, smaller financial institutions surely can too.



Money Fountain

Visitors to an art fair in Marietta, Georgia realized that they didn’t need to wish for money at the fountain… it was already covered with dollar bills. LGE Community Credit Union decorated the fountain as part of a promotion designed to highlight the credit union’s High Rate Checking Account.

The perimeter of the fountain was covered with bills that could be removed and taken by passers by. Some park visitors wandered by the fountain with curious looks. But those with more courage pulled off the dollars and found a note on the other side: “You don’t have to wish for more money. Just visit the LGE booth.”



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Back to School Welcome Wagon

College students – especially incoming freshmen – have lots of decisions to make when they start Fall classes. Typically, the choice of which financial institution to use is fairly low on their priority list. As many credit unions have discovered, it is very difficult to break through the noise of countless events, Greek rush, and newly-found independence.

Listerhill Credit Union, who serves the University of North Alabama student body, wanted to cut through the on-campus marketing clutter by being visible and communicating with students during orientation, but in a helpful but non-pushy kind of way. They hosted a “Leader Bash” for 50 of UNA’s campus leaders, with live music, dancing and all-natural popsicles from a local vendor, then handed out branded “The Hill” laundry bags during student move-in days.




Fat Cats

Affinity FCU produced this TV commercial with a talking cat to convey the message that the credit union has been “fat cat free since 1935.” The video has been viewed over 80,000 times on YouTube, making it one of the top 50 most successful (viral?) videos in the credit union world. You just can’t go wrong with cats.


Inspiring Entrepreneurs

In a series of eight print ads, Commercial Bank of Africa delivers salutations to different entrepreneurial archetypes: “To the Meticulous,” “To the Free Spirits,” “To the Fiery,” “To the Persevering,” etc. The photos — meticulously constructed — are beautiful, dynamic and engaging. Advertising agency: Halo Advertising, Johannesburg, South Africa.


cba_fiery cba_free_spirits


cba_selfless cba_pioneers

Aaron Rodgers Photobomb

Wisconsin-based Associated Bank came up with a campaign that blends selfies and photobombing with the opportunity to win one of ten footballs signed by Green Bay Packers star QB Aaron Rodgers. To participate, people can pop into an Associated Bank branch and take a photo with a life-size Aaron Rodgers cutout, or visit and upload your own photo that will be photobombed digitally. Fans who share their photobomb on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest with the hashtag #GoodFit are automatically be entered to win one of the ten footballs autographed by Rodgers.


We’re Open to Close!

A clever turn-of-phrase by Member One Credit Union’s ad agency here in an ad campaign for mortgage lending: “We’re Open to Close.” The campaign uses other common expressions as its creative hook. The agency also created a nice logo for the credit union’s mortgage arm (shown below).




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