TD launches new ad strategy matching the mood of Canadians shaken by COVID

Who: TD with Diamond and Agency 361 (TD’s in-house agency) for creative, with Starcom’s Unison for media.

What: A new communications strategy reflecting the fact many Canadians felt their priorities—both personal and financial—have changed during the Covid crisis.

When & Where: The first creative launched in late July, including a :60 brand spot running on TV and online. All creative will use the new messaging for the next six months (and maybe longer).

Why: The extraordinary circumstances of the last five months have resulted in a new financial reality for many Canadians; TD’s marketing had to be updated to reflect that.

Since 2017, its core brand promise was around helping customers feel more confident. The tagline has been “Ready for you,” but creative often included the line “That’s what confidence feels like.” Simply put, a lot of Canadians don’t feel very confident right now.

“We know we need to rebuild people’s confidence,” said Tyrrell Schmidt, vice-president, global brand and customer experience officer. “We also knew the campaign that we were running that had the line ‘That’s what confidence feels like’ would likely feel very out of touch.”

While they didn’t want to abandon confidence as the brand’s cornerstone—”That is absolutely not changing,” said Schmidt—they needed new advertising that was relevant for this historic period. “We were adapting, not our brand promise around confidence, but the communication platform.”

How #1 (research/insight): By mid-May TD started working with Diamond to figure out the new communications strategy. It began with deep research. One TD study revealed that 38% of the population felt financially vulnerable, up from just 15% a year ago. As they dug deeper, they saw how people’s priorities had changed during the crisis. “What we found is that consumers have really redefined what’s most essential to them during this time,” said Schmidt.

How #2 (strategy): That insight about what’s essential became the foundation of the new communications strategy: rather than talking about what confidence feels like, TD would focus on helping people achieve what is essential to them. The tagline, “Ready for you,” has been tweaked slightly to “Ready to help you move forward.”

How #3 (creative): The campaign has been introduced with an earnest :60 which opens by looking back at some of the poignant, challenging, and once unthinkable scenarios so many Canadians lived through early in the pandemic—like drive-by birthday parties, and meeting grandchildren through glass doors.

The focus then shifts to the silver linings of more human connections in a slowed down world, and new perspectives. “And what was essential to each of us came into sharp focus,” says the narrator, who explains how TD will help people move forward into the future “feeling confident about what is essential to you.”

The tone: One of the key planks in the TD platform has been personally understanding customers, said Schmidt. So the ad had to recall some of the very real, often tough challenges of the past few months, before turning the narrative to be more forward looking and hopeful. “It was important to us that it be an optimistic perspective, but also bring in our understanding of consumers and the role for TD,” she said.

The timing: While many Canadians had their confidence shaken by the pandemic, TD feels they’re ready and eager to make progress forward, said Schimdt.

“It was one of the fastest campaigns we’ve ever done; it took us about eight weeks from briefing,” she said. “We know there is a moment to reflect what life has been and this change, so we didn’t want to be too late.”

David Brown