Banks: The Milquetoasts of Marketing

Most financial marketing is pablum. It’s tapioca. It’s white bread. It’s full of squeaky-clean people gazing admiringly at their newly purchased home/car/boat/other expensive item. It’s small business people with flour/paint/mud/grease on their faces.

Unlike the insurance companies, who realized a few years back that a more creative and engaging approach to marketing actually can work, almost all banks are still caught up in the “must stay in the middle of the road” mindset.

In fact, of all the financial advertising I’ve seen lately, there’s just one bright spot. It’s a campaign for Huntington Bank that literally showcases the differences between “big” banks and Huntington.

Where the “big” banker hides behind a tree from small business clients, the Huntington banker welcomes them. When the “big” banker chortles about all the overdraft fees he’ll collect, the Huntington banker describes their programs to help people avoid overdraft fees. The campaign uses everything from an architect’s model of a main street to a woman on a hamster wheel in its irreverent segments:

It’s a simple, fun, snarky approach, and it makes me like Huntington. And isn’t that, after all, what advertising should do?

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