Creative Brand Strategy Banking

BBDO Singapore’s plans to refresh CIMB’s banking playbook in ASEAN


By Amit Bapna | Editor-at-large

January 18, 2022 | 3 min read

Here The Drum looks at how BBDO Singapore sets out to give CIMB, one of the leading banks in the ASEAN region, a new brand direction to help it stand out in the saturated domain of banking communications.

CIMB’s new way of banking

CIMB wishes to show a new way of banking

The creative brief for a tough category

Banking communications is heavily regulated, and hence often not very full of creativity. In such a cluttered domain, the task for the agency was to help CIMB stand out while giving it an enticing edge – and all this without compromising on the brand’s core values and services.

Guan Hin Tay, chief creative officer of BBDO Singapore, said in a chat with The Drum: “‘Break free, bank differently’ is the new ethos of the refreshed brand direction of CIMB that has been designed to show what happens when you break free from the rut of inefficient banking habits.”

Behind the scenes of the campaign

The brand campaign around the new brand direction features two films, both aiming to resonate with prospective and existing customers.

The first brand film shows an interplay of dreary black and white (to display age-old inefficient ways of banking) juxtaposed against a splash of red color (to display the power of CIMB’s way of new-age banking, underlined by the brand color). The drab scenarios are shaken up by ebullient choreography, which ends with a flash mob climax in the heart of Raffles Place in Singapore.

For the second film, the focus was on a different target demographic – the customers of CIMB’s priority banking service CIMB Preferred. Through the differentiated treatment, the central protagonist – a character who exists in the same ‘CIMB world’ – is shown living a premium lifestyle while breaking the fourth wall.

Creating a differentiated bank brand story

Victor Lee, chief executive officer, CIMB Singapore, said: “The new positioning is all about the bank doing things differently than in previous years to enhance the overall end-user experience.” Focusing on customer-centricity and placing customers first, they aim to build a high-performing sustainable organization that will help advance both customers and society, he added.

Tay said: “We hope to inspire a new perspective with this empowering message in an ongoing climate and economy that seems perpetually tied down by countless restrictions.” It is never too late to break free.

Creative Brand Strategy Banking

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