Beleaguered bank Bradford & Bingley is launching a £10m advertising drive to promote its “no-strings” saving account just weeks after issuing a profits warning. It denies the move is linked to an over-reliance on mortgages.
Stephen Rowe, the bank’s marketing director, says that while its product set has shifted, its “fundamental brand strategy hasn’t changed” and that plans to market its savings product have been in the diary for “six to nine months”.
But he admits it is important for customers to see the bank is still communicating and “putting customer service at its heart” after several weeks of adverse media coverage. Over recent months, its chief executive Steven Crawshaw resigned due to ill health and it launched a £258m rights issue in addition to issuing a profits warning.
The bank says that 2007 was about launching B&B’s new range of specialist mortgages and positioning the brand as “in touch with customers, understanding their hopes and dreams”.
But almost all of the 2008 advertising budget will go towards supporting its Rate for Life savings product. The first burst of a year-long campaign launched this week with TV, press, online, outdoor and in-store executions.
Earlier this month it confirmed it was selling a 23% stake to private equity company Texas Pacific Group for £179m.
Rowe says the new campaign, by Manchester-based BJL, extends the theme of the bank’s rebrand in 2006 into the savings space.