Unloved Capital One makes 9m bid to gain popularity

Capital One is launching a 9m brand campaign that aims to persuade UK consumers to "like" the unpopular financial services brand. It breaks next week, and marks a U-turn in the marketing strategy for the brand.

The campaign executions, – which include television, press, radio and outdoor – are all based around a "We make changing easy" theme, and attempt to move the brand away from the "crab" animation, which has been scrapped in favour of using real people, although the "What’s in your wallet?" strapline has been retained.

Capital One head of brand Justin Basini, who was appointed in January, admits that the company has used direct mail too much in the past, but its use will now be reduced to a minimum. He says that the campaign also marks a change in strategy for the US-owned company because it will not focus on the "hard sell".

The aim of the campaign is to convince consumers that changing is easy, both in life and in financial services. There are three TV spots: two executions focusing on credit card products and one ad for a home-owner "secured loan". The work has been created by DDB London, with media planning and buying through Starcom Group.

As well as above-the-line advertising, Capital One will showcase nine "Lunch and Laugh" events across the country, which will feature a variety of national and regional comedy acts.

Basini says that the activity aims to show that Capital One is a positive brand: "It is about entering consumers’ lives by providing experiences that are entertaining, but are not particularly a hard sell. It will be about people changing their lunchtimes through to changing their credit cards."

Capital One has also hired GMTV "life and motivation expert" Pete Cohen to write a syndicated advertising column in Metro newspapers and star in a www.wemakechangingeasy.com microsite.

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