Nordnet, a Scandinavian financial institution, launched a new campaign so honest it makes every business suit look like a lie.
The ad breaks your expectation of what a smooth-looking, slick-talking, banker type should say with “I’m an actor, and I’ve been paid $8,000 to tell you how great Nordnet is compared to other banks,” and then “I walk fast through a hallway where I read from a prompter on top of camera”.
Now, advertising by its very nature is persuasive. Everyone knows that. Yet there’s always an interesting way to leverage that. An ad acknowledging it’s an ad can be a great way to pierce through the clutter. And there may be no better brand to do that with than one battling a trust-thirsty category.
Effective advertising (that which is not tuned out) is defined by how well a human truth is communicated. A human truth is something we can all identify with. It has the power to capture a target audience by their hearts, their minds, or simply their attention spans.
The human truth here is that people are likely to believe banking institutions are profit-driven at the expense of their customers. However bold or dangerous a truth may be, it must be recognized if the problem is ever to be solved.
Although it may not be the exact verbiage from the Swedish masterminds at Fortune, the strategy is more or less – Nordnet does honest banking. Many banks are driven by a similar strategy but dress their executional language up differently. Sometimes the approach of honest banking can lead to non-sticky and unappealing advertising.
Nordnet’s spot keeps it fresh with some deadpan humor but doesn’t abandon their USP (Unique Selling Proposition). Shortly after the actor reveals he’s reading from a prompter, he introduces what makes Nordnet valuable to begin with, “…Nordnet has lower fees, a better platform, and pushes less of their own products”. It’s important to make this part clear, or else all you have is a bank poking fun at itself.
Trust is important to the wellbeing of any brand. Trust translates to loyalty. Loyalty leads to long-term success. Nordnet’s “Welcome to Transparent Banking” speaks to an important truth and although their strategy is a card played by many, they used humor to differentiate themselves. Whether this will lead to loyal consumers as a result is yet to be determined. However with 529,000 views on youtube, they seem to be on their way.