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Adams & Knight creates new campaign for NewAlliance Bank

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As published in American Banker April 1, 2010

The research NewAlliance Bank did for its new branding effort showed that people are far more engaged in banking than they ever have been before.

 “They’re paying more attention,” both to their personal spending and to the financial industry itself, says Nancy Benben, director of marketing communications for the $8.4 billion-asset bank in New Haven, Conn. “They’re looking more closely at their statements. They’re reading up on how their bank is doing. They’re listening to the media about what’s happening in the industry.”

This all bodes well for NewAlliance, which is highly capitalized and eager to make loans. And with people being so attuned, its advertising campaign, which had a splashy Super Bowl debut in the bank’s home state, is even more likely to get noticed.

Called “Do Your Thing,” the campaign depicts stories from the perspective of people who could be typical customers, all making big changes in their lives. “They are the heroes of the campaign,” Benben says. “Our goal, our promise to ourselves and our customers, is about how we enable them to thrive. These ads are an expression of that.”

The upbeat song that plays throughout its four television spots is an anthem to personal empowerment. Each opens with the lyrics, “Be yourself. No one else. Do your thing. Do your own thing,” as a montage of scenes rolls by.

One spot shows a woman at home, day and night, focused on her computer screen or huddled over a book. In the background, her husband vacuums, folds laundry and brings her coffee.

“Do something you’ve always dreamed of doing,” a male voice-over says. “While you may have to work at it, you don’t have to do it alone. NewAlliance will be right there by your side,” with people ready to help and money to lend, no matter the goal.

Even “important redecorating,” he says, as the woman hangs her diploma on a wall, smiling husband next to her.

Adams & Knight in Avon, Conn., created the campaign, which also includes a Web site redesign, along with print, radio, outdoor and online components. In choosing stories to present, Jill Adams, the agency’s president, says she wanted partly to highlight situations where people need help, but might not think of going to a bank. The intent is to convey that banks are not just for savings accounts, but also advice.

Mike Moyers, creative director at BLF Marketing in Nashville, Tenn., gives the campaign high marks. Though “very polished,” the ads feel fun and down-to-earth, he says. “I think it does a good job of being folksy yet sophisticated.”

The jingle in the television spots is particularly good, and cleverly underscores the ‘do’ theme, Moyers says. “They do a lot of ‘do-do, do-do, do-do.’ I thought that was a really nice touch.”

The print ads also have some distinctive elements. Instead of tucking the disclosures at the bottom, they are at the top. And in an ad for mortgages, the headline-”Doable”-is vertical.

David Hoke, a partner at BLF, says the “Do Your Thing” theme-which is also NewAlliance’s new tag line-is appealing. He likes that NewAlliance even incorporated the concept into its Web site. Visitors to the site get asked “Ready to do your thing?” They can choose from a menu of personal or business goals.

Hoke says the ads also do a good job of engaging people emotionally.

That is exactly what Adams and Benben wanted. “Banks have not been as effective as they need to be in really connecting to the emotional drivers for customers. It isn’t all about this rational analysis of fees,” Adams says. “Ultimately, you really gain customer loyalty when you can connect to the things that matter most to them. I think that’s what this campaign-and this bank-really do well.”

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