Big punch for small budget

ARMED with a relatively small commercial TV budget but a need to boost unprompted brand awareness StateWest Credit Society and JMG Marketing have embarked on an eye-catching advertising campaign.

The television commercials have been on air for almost a month and, while official research is yet to take place, StateWest senior retail manager Tony Romano said he believed there were already strong signs of achieving the campaign’s goals.

“It has created a lot of talk and so it is achieving that objective of being noticed,” he said.

“It took a lot of courage to do them because it has broken the mould of normal financial advertising. We didn’t want to bash the banks and we didn’t want to do what the other non-banks do. We didn’t want to confuse consumers.”

The ads feature a male employee dressed in a tutu, a male employee getting waxed, and a female employee enjoying a worm bath.

Mr Romano said the campaign was launched to remedy an unprompted brand awareness problem.

“We did some research and it showed that we started to slip as top of mind in the non-bank sector,” he said.

“When someone makes a decision to leave a bank a lot of people say they have had enough and they want to go to a non-bank.”

“Our research showed we weren’t at the level we wanted to be. The first organisation that came to mind is what we wanted to be. We needed stronger brand awareness.”

Mr Romano said that because StateWest had not advertised on television for four years the ads needed to be somewhat different in order to have good prime time presence.

“We did a stint four years ago but we held back from doing more because we wanted to get bigger in size so we could have continuity,” he said.

“We wanted to have enough funds for a series of ads that could run through the course of the year.

“The brief to JMG was that it needed to be edgy and it needed to cut through.

“If you are a smaller advertiser that has not been on television for a while then you need to have impact.”

The result was three television commercials that use actual staff members as talent and the tag line “absolute commitment to customers” was also the result of research.

Mr Romano said the current TV schedule would wind down in a few weeks but would be back on prime time in the new financial year.

The ads run on all three commercial TV stations and the initial campaign and production are thought to have cost between $200,000 to $300,000.

Mr Romano said research would be undertaken at the end of the year to determine the campaign’s effectiveness.

“We benchmarked prior to the campaign and did focus groups and now we have some bench-marks on the brand,” he said.

“We will repeat that at the end of the year and see whether we’ve been able to increase the awareness.”

StateWest has not pulled its press advertising but uses it to market product offerings.

“Those pick up the images of the [TV] ads and they [JMG] have done some clever stuff with the wording,” Mr Romano said.

StateWest’s television campaign was written by JMG creative director Peter Bradshaw and art directed by Drew Ridley.

JMG Marketing has held the StateWest contract for seven years.

Mr Bradshaw said that with a limited media budget the ads needed to be attention grabbing.

“The marketing team at StateWest nearly had a group heart attack when we presented the concepts but they agreed that with their limited media spend the only way to get noticed was to do something a little out-of-the-ordinary,” he said.

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