TSB marketing boss on why it's using fifth birthday to expose 'lazy cat' banks

The 'lazy cats', the UK's big five banks

TSB has shaken up its marketing with a new campaign looking to get the UK public to question whether their bank does enough for them.

Based on research it commissioned to unfurl the issues consumers have with the current banking industry, the campaign - dubbed the 'Five Cats’ after HSBC, Barclays, RBS, Lloyds and Santander - looks to expose the weaknesses of TSB's rivals.

Pete Markey, ‎marketing director of ‎TSB Bank told The Drum that the campaign is leveraged on the insight that over 70% of UK adults feel like they’re being taken for granted by their bank - and - 79% feel their bank profits at their expense.

The campaign comes as the brand celebrates its fifth birthday since its separation from Lloyds in 2013. After years of honing its advertising to build awareness of the brand, Markey said it's now going back to its original objective, to "encourage and drive competition in the UK banking industry".

"As we reach our fifth birthday we wanted to renew challenge from the campaigning aspect of the brand, challenge UK consumers to look at their relationship with their banks," he said.

The first ad is called Break Free and features a squirrel trying to cajole some fat lazy cats into action. On the creative proposition, delivered by Joint, Studio AKA and Dentsu Aegis , Markey said: "The starting point is the laziness issue, they feel that their banks don’t do much for them and that banks are absolutely out of touch of their lives and aren’t communicating or relevant.

"The lazy cats represent customers saying banks don’t do enough. And to underline this the brand has shipped inflatable cats around London to inspire curiosity around its current account."

Meanwhile, a stunt yesterday (23 January) was designed to get the public curious about what their bank does for them. It was an gamble for TSB, with Markey admitting that the brand hasn't previously invested in experiential marketing. However, with the latest campaign, this will be amped up alongside social activity which Markey assures will be integral in the coming weeks and months.

Relying on the reach of social is a risky move in the banking sector that could see less than fruitful returns from consumers, Markey said so far the feedback has been “really good” on the #CompetitionMatters strapline.

“What sets this campaign apart, there is TV and digital, but there is a lot more going on in the social space, with a lot more retargeting, soon we will be going into new channels.”

He concluded: “This is the start of a long-term campaign, we will restate our credentials through 2018 with similar messages.”

Markey has been at the company for eight months since leaving Aviva last May.

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