Abbey National to air ú15m TV drive

Abbey National is preparing to launch a ú15m TV campaign shot in the Virgin Isles as an upbeat replacement for the bank’s grumpy Victor Meldrew character.

Abbey National is preparing to launch a £15m TV campaign shot in the Virgin Isles as an upbeat replacement for the bank’s grumpy Victor Meldrew character.

The ads will air on March 6 on ITV, Channel 4, regional and satellite channels. They are the first to emerge from EURO RSCG Wnek Gosper, which replaced Barker & Ralston as Abbey’s TV agency last December.

The ads will initially promote Abbey’s Financial Planning Service using a new tagline of “Abbeyness” intended to position Abbey as an honest, trustworthy financial adviser. They feature a man diving underwater and aim to prove that Abbey is a safer option than financial “sharks”.

Ads will also aim to clarify where the building society-turned-bank fits into the financial sector. “Building societies are still seen as warmer and more endearing than banks. We are cutting a path between the two. We want to show we haven’t lost our roots,” says Abbey marketing director Ambrose McGinn.

The campaign finally lays Barker & Ralston’s Victor Meldrew character to rest. “The ad was fine for the times but we are coming out of the recession and it’s time for a more dynamic message,” says McGinn. Barker & Ralston will provide supporting press work for the TV campaign.

A second execution, shot in the less exotic location of Chatham, will air in late March. Work will be backed by a radio and poster campaign which began this week.

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