It’s been two weeks since my last Marketing Deconstructed post on Coke, so back into the blogging fray and this time I am looking at NatWest’s NatYes campaign. In summary: I hate this campaign for 2 reasons, 1) It’s call to action didn’t work and 2) Isn’t saying yes to too many mortgages what got this bank into trouble in the first place? Now let’s dig in:
What are they trying to do?
I’m not 100% sure but here is my theory: Housing prices are back on the rise driven, at least in part, by government subsidised low deposit purchase programmes and the liquidity provided by quantitative easing from the BOE. NatWest and RBS (their parent) want to make some money and seize a chunk of this growing market, this integrated campaign is their attempt to do just that. But there is a problem: Natwest have, consciously or not, targeted a certain segment of the market, the higher risk element. Think about it: You want a mortgage, what’s your primary concern? The lowest interest rate? The lowest arrangement fees? Or just getting the mortgage approved? If you’re in the last camp you’re probably in a riskier segment of the market, NatYes proudly proclaims: “We say yes to 9/10 mortgage applications” – actively targeting those concerned about their credit rating, did they mean to do that? I don’t know. Another concern: In the post credit crunch world should a state owned bank that lost billions playing fast and loose with it’s mortgage risk profile be proudly proclaiming it’s saying yes to so many applications? I really am surprised this hasn’t blown up yet.
Have they succeeded?
Mixed results here too. The campaign is consistent and nicely integrated, the TV commercial is nice and all that’s well reflected on the front page of the website. BUT then there is the CTA, that’s important. The TV advert loudly proclaims: “search NatYes for more info” – OK cool, so why is it that for the first week or so of the campaign not Natwest sites ranked, in fact for a while the #1 rank was a blog post from an SEO manager about the failure of the CTA.
What could be better:
If you’re going to run a high budget, fully integrated campaign with a SEO led call to action then make damn sure you rank. In fairness I can see how this happened: The campaign launch date is set, the media is booked, then someone screws up and the SEO stuff isn’t ready to go, the campaign manager has to make a call, delay and lose the media or go and take the hit, they went, I might have done the same, but it’s a shame and shows not enough redundancy built into the campaign timing.
Regarding the why their doing this question: Hmmm, they know their risk profile better than me, but I think someone got a research report reading something like “People worry about their mortgage being rejected, of 2000 people surveyed that’s their top concern and no other bank is talking about it” so they ran with it, research can be a dangerous thing if not used carefully…
Scores on the doors:
This is a 3/10 job, it’s well integrated, the SEO issue is a fail but overall I think it’s a repeat of past mistakes, not all customers are good customers and not all profit is good profit! RBS learned this the hard way in 2008, I hope it’s not a lesson they need to learn again.