Santander claims Ant and Dec campaign is boosting brand love

As it launches the second instalment of its ‘Bank of Antanddec’ campaign, Santander claims it has already helped it achieve its highest ever brand scores.

Santander’s ‘Bank of Antanddec’ campaign has helped the bank produce its highest ever score for brand love as brand ambassadors Ant and Dec help the bank resonate with customers and boost the business.

The campaign, which launched in June 2019, sees celebrities Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly launching a copycat bank. It suggests various funny financial solutions including providing tiny coffee shops in their branches so customers can save money on their daily coffees.

The amusing ads have caused industry-leading brand affinity scores, according to Santander, which has signed a multi-year partnership with the I’m A Celebrity hosts.

In June, the bank found that 38% of consumers surveyed agreed that the ads made them love the bank more. That is the highest score achieved in any campaign the bank has done since it began measuring the metric.

This high score was replicated when it came to enjoyment, with 54% of people enjoying the ad. Santander claims that figure is unprecedented in the banking industry.

Santander’s  head of marketing delivery, Chris Parker, explains: “Financial services is not typically the most sexy or interesting of industries. We’re not Nike, we’re not Apple, so seeing that score is almost unprecedented in our industry.”

Its overall brand affinity score, which includes a number of metric such as spontaneous ad awareness and ad recall,  also increased by three percentage points last year, making it second in brand love in the banking sector, according to Santander.

The ads have also provided commercial success, with Santandar’s overall score for mortgage preference increasing from 19% to 25% following the campaign launch. That has led to its highest increase in full mortgage applications in a decade.

Santander wants to make its purpose ‘more tangible’ as it shifts brand positioning

However, YouGov BrandIndex shows that there is still some work to do on consumer perceptions. On Quality, when the campaign launched it was second behind just Nationwide in a list of bank brands. However, it now sits fourth having seen its score decline by 4.4 points to 10.9.

However, on Buzz (a balance of whether people have heard positive or negative things about a brand) it has jumped by two points from a score of 0.4 to 2.4 making it sixth in a list of banks behind First Direct, Nationwide and Monzo – which tops the chart with a score of 5.9.

When launching the campaign, Santander not only wanted to improve consumer perceptions but also love among staff, something which Parker is confident it has achieved.

He explains: “What we’re seeing in our staff response is they are really proud of Bank of Antanddec. When you either read comments on our intranet or speak to people in branches [you can see] it’s given people a real injection of positivity.”

The brand is also using staff as micro-influencers, providing them with behind-the-scenes footage and assets to share on their personal media to help them become the brands “biggest ambassadors”.

The second installment in the campaign

Santander is now launching the second instalment in the campaign, created by Engine, which shows Ant and Dec at a press conference fighting a copyright infringement claim from “another bank”.

They claim their logo features a baguette, rather than a flame, saying that until recently they had never heard of the “so-called bank” in question.

The duo also introduce their new high-tech mortgage robot, Stan the Smartbot, whose job it is to predict the future of mortgages. The ad ends with a message from Santander that, while it can’t predict the future like Stan, it can offer customers some certainty with fixed rate mortgages for up to 10 years.

Parker says the marketing team wasn’t apprehensive about replicating the success of the first ads, instead arguing its only challenge was to ensure the second instalment stayed “fresh”.

He says: “It’s about keeping it interesting and we want people to enjoy these ads. They’re not straight laced product banking ads.”