The first TV ad, which aired tonight (6 April), shows a pigeon bemused by a ‘There’s Money’ logo, but dancing on the pavement to the respective ‘And There’s Virgin Money’ one. The slogan, meanwhile, appears strikingly similar to Marks and Spencer’s ‘This is not just food, This is M&S Food’.
The campaign, which aims to present Virgin Money as the best alternative for consumers to manage their finances and was created by m/SIX, will build throughout the year animals. Future ads will feature squirrels, guide dogs, a goat and a tortoise, and the banking brand will talk up services including mortgages, savings and pensions.
It is Virgin Money’s first significant above the line spend since 2012, when it had a TV campaign following its rapid UK expansion after the purchase of the nationalised bank Northern Rock.
“This is an opportunity for Virgin to refresh the brand to consumers,” said Paul Lloyd, marketing director at Virgin Money, who said ad spend would be up significantly on the previous year, and two thirds TV and print to one third social and digital.
“We did lots of research with consumers and when you say to them ‘Can you recall memorable financial service advertising?’ – there were zero responses. We wanted to avoid the clichés and talk up our service in a fun way that can appeal to all age groups.”
With banking brands such as HSBC damaged over high-profile scandals over recent months, Lloyd admits that Virgin Money has a unique opportunity.
“This is a time for brands and banks to reconnect with customers, and as we’re a new brand we don’t have a legacy of baggage, which gives us a unique opportunity.
On YouGov’s list of the UK’s 28 biggest banking brands, Virgin Money is 11th place when it comes to index score, which is measured by looking at consumer perception of quality, value, reputation and satisfaction. Although above the likes of 18th placed HSBC and bottom placed RBS, Virgin Money’s score of 1.6 has decreased by 0.1 percentage points over the last six months.
Lloyd admits that there is an opportunity for Virgin Money to grow bigger, adding: “This about seizing our moment and talking to consumers in a way that is worth hearing.”
The financial services provider which floated on the stock market in November, reported underlying pre-tax profits of £121.2m for the year to 31 December, up 127% on 2013.