Abbey National set to rebrand

Abbey National is considering rebranding as The Abbey, as part of a strategic brand review commissioned by Wolff Olins.

An industry source says The Abbey is favoured as it mirrors what people actually call the bank. The name would also link to the bank’s Nineties strapline, “The Abbey habit”, which was replaced by the current “Because life is complicated enough”.

The brand review was instigated by chief executive Luqman Arnold as part of a strategy to refocus on the core UK retail banking operation, following a record loss of nearly &£1bn announced in February.

Abbey is still trying to fill its top marketing position, after retail marketing director Janet Connor was moved sideways, into the bank’s customer sales division (MW March 6). Connor spent millions of pounds on a new campaign for the bank, fronted by Martin Kemp.

The bank last refreshed its brand and retail identity in 2001, losing the trademark image of a couple walking under an umbrella.

Wolff Olins is a sister company of TBWA/London, which was awarded Abbey’s &£18m advertising account last month after a whirlwind review (MW April 10). Abbey is the sixth-largest bank in the UK.

A spokeswoman for Abbey National says: “We have no plans to rebrand as The Abbey, but it is no secret that we are going through a brand review.”

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