Scotiabank launches Advice+ brand with new ad platform

Who: Scotiabank, with Bensimon Byrne, Untitled Films (Hubert Davis directing), PHD for media, Rooster and Alter Ego for post, with Berkeley for audio and Jigsaw for casting.

What: A campaign to launch a new financial planning brand, Advice+, created in response to the pandemic. It’s the first Scotiabank advertising to use a much more colourful brand design system introduced last year.

When & Where: Advice+ was launched last week, and the campaign is running until the end of November, with TV, radio, digital video, online and significant in-branch marketing.

Why: Scotiabank created Advice+ in response to significant changes in how Canadians are feeling about their financial wellbeing and a need for new planning and advice because of COVID. It bundles together new and existing planning and advice services with a new name and branding campaign.

“I wanted something that was visually arresting, that got people to look at it, that was fresh and optimistic to watch. And I wanted something where we could suspend reality a little bit,” said John Rocco, Scotiabank’s vice-president of Canadian banking marketing.

How: A year-and-a-half ago, Scotiabank introduced a new visual brand identity (designed by Bensimon Byrne’s sister agency OneMethod) that makes extensive use of colour. This is the first ad campaign to employ the visual system, which will be used extensively going forward.

Until now, each product campaign would be unique and creatively distinct, said Rocco. “We wanted a creative construct that allowed us to tell different product stories at different times of year, utilizing the same creative platform,” he said. “This is the first of many chapters that we will use this system for.”

How it’s used in the launch spot: In terms of the story, the ad is pretty straightforward: A family has a goal of buying an Airstream trailer, and the Scotiabank advisor helps them achieve it. But the ad is presented as one long shot, opening with an all red-and-white scene. More and more colour is added as the shot unfolds, until it closes with a vibrant palette of autumnal colours. (See a behind the scenes video below.)

The intended effect on viewers: The addition of more and more colour throughout the ad provides a sense of movement and a sense of progress, said Rocco. “It brings this element of optimism to our brand, and people are ready for some optimism, especially this year.”

“Ever since we refreshed the Scotiabank brand identity, it’s been a goal to bring the same vibrant optimism and design ethos to more of the bank’s communications,” said Joseph Bonnici, executive creative director at Bensimon Byrne. “The launch of Advice+ was the perfect expression for this. The addition of a vibrant colour palette throughout the spot reflects the new possibilities the right advice can help create in our customer’s lives.”

Shooting during COVID: “It was the most unique shoot I’ve been on,” said Rocco. They actually shot two different spots, with the second coming later this year. Technically it was a very complex shoot, but because of distancing requirements there were also fewer people on set to check and sign off on things. “The element of trust that we had to have in each other was heightened,” said Rocco. “That we got the shot. The lighting was right. I would say we all leaned on each other in a way that we may not have on a different shoot, but it went remarkably well.” (The shoot took place after Scotiabank announced it was undertaking an agency review. “It was the best shoot I’ve done with them,” said Rocco.)

Was it one shot? “It is actually three shots with some clever transitions,” said Bonnici. “Hubert Davis, our director, wanted to create a seamless and fluid story of a family reaching their financial goals.”

Quote: “This is a real departure for us… and I think it’s a really dynamic and fresh platform,” said Rocco. “It’s a platform that doesn’t have an end date. This isn’t a one campaign thing, this is a platform that we think we can evolve over time. And we believe it has it has a lot of runway for us.”





David Brown