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International ad campaigns showcase the power of a good idea

The marketing campaign that goes viral is a thing of beauty. Sometimes it’s a big- budget extravaganza (think Budweiser at the Super Bowl), but more often than not the most successful campaigns grab the viewer’s attention purely because they’re engaging and smart.

marketingmatters-previewFinance can be a tough sell — mortgages, savings, and loans aren’t as immediately alluring as, say, a cold beer. However, financial institutions around the world have had huge success with creative ads that get the message across by connecting with viewers on a personal level.


Below, we’ve rounded up seven recent international ads to illustrate the point. Some are clearly costly; others were created on a very limited budget. What they all have in common is that they speak directly to their target markets and do so in clever ways. So, tune in, turn on, and engage.

Saving for the future

1. BAHAMAS: The Bahamas Co-operative League Limited hits it out of the park with a little girl who schools her teacher about credit unions and how Jack and the Beanstalk might have ended if Jack’s mum had been a more savvy with her money. Watch it:

Jack and the Beanstalk

2. UNITED STATES: From Virginia Credit Union comes a series of amusing 15-second spots on the theme of “Awkward Questions.” From dodgy credit ratings to bad warranty decisions, this credit union makes fixing bad situations sound easy. Watch it:

3. UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: Simple but effective, “Hey Future Me,” by Emirates NBD drew attention to its children’s savings plans by asking nine kids to imagine their futures and record a message to their future selves. The resulting ad was both illuminating and just sentimental enough, with a split screen showing parents tearing up as they listened to their children’s hopes and dreams. Bonus: The campaign led to increased enrolment in children’s savings plans, while opening up new connections between the bank and the two international partner schools. Watch it:

Targeting Millennials

4. UNITED STATES: Wells Fargo & Co. nails the hipster vibe with a 30-second spot that features a young, bearded guy named Nate who has just launched his startup out of the garage. As he scrambles to cover the roles of owner, HR department, and sales and service, the friendly voiceover declares that the financial institution is there for small business to help it grow. Watch it:

5. SCOTLAND: A witty and astute ad from Bank of Scotland looks at the millennial challenge of moving out of mum and dad’s basement. Bonus: The 40-second video also squeezes in a cameo by Game of Thrones actor James Cosmo. Watch it:

Promoting Technology


6. UNITED STATES: Knowing that tap-and-pay technology is likely to appeal more immediately to a younger demographic, MasterCard has some fun in a video spot that sees Vine sensation Arielle Vandenberg as a drugstore cashier who has way too much time on her hands now that paying for purchases takes just seconds. Released late last year, the ad is nearing seven million views on YouTube. Watch it:

7. UNITED STATES: PayPal targets the zombie- loving hoards with an ad that shows how an inept everyman named Adam survives the apocalypse courtesy of his ability to pay for “anything, anytime, anywhere.” Watch it: ◊