NatWest goes back to basics

BYLN: By Sharon Marshall

NatWest will return to television advertising this weekend after a six-month break. The creative treatment has been reworked, but underlying the move is a major strategic shift away from above-the-line advertising.

In an exclusive interview with Marketing Week, NatWest director of marketing Raoul Pinnell reveals that the bank’s above-the-line ad spend will be confined to a 7.5m TV campaign and mono press support. Last year, NatWest spent 24.5m on media (Register-MEAL). The rest of the bank’s 100m marketing budget has been re directed towards below-the-line work, internal training and marketing programmes.

The new ads, through Bartle Bogle Hegarty, will break on Channel 4 on June 4 following a presentation to NatWest staff explaining advertising and marketing changes at the bank.

The ads follow a period of speculation about BBH’s hold on the NatWest account. In January, the agency was ordered to scrap its creative work and go back to the drawing board. The result is two new executions, one a glossy corporate image builder, the other a brasher piece that is likely to appeal to a younger audience. Both ads talk about the range of services offered by NatWest and introduce the catchline “NatWest. More than just a bank”.

John Bartle, BBH’s joint chief executive, insists the agency’s hold on the account was always secure. He adds: “When they are reviewing everything you wonder what is going to happen, but we never felt the Sword of Damocles hanging over our head.”